THE story of a how a "cheeky-faced wee dude" grew into a "monster" who brutally murdered his mother in Dunfermline has featured in a new Channel 5 programme.

Just before Christmas 2014, Carol Taggart, 54, was beaten and strangled to death by her son Ross, who hid her body under a caravan and then went on a spending spree with her money and tried to sell her jewellery – all while misleading the police and everyone else by pretending she had gone missing.

The spoiled and greedy bully snapped and killed her after she finally discovered his lies and deceit, sending him a text calling him a "sponger" and threatening to cut him off financially.

The horrific story has been recounted by his family in 'Countdown to Murder' which aired last week and is still available on demand.

Carol's ex-partner, Shaun Taggart, said: "He removed a ring from a dead body, the dead body of his mother, and tried to pawn it.

"That's the calibre of Ross."

He added: "He went from being a cheeky-faced wee dude that liked a bit of rough and tumble to grow up into this monster.

"He's a greedy, self-centred boy that thought the world owed him a living.

"When he realised there was a chance of him getting everything, he wanted it. Ross is evil, just evil."

A childminder, Carol ran a successful children's nursery from the family home at Hill of St Margaret in Dunfermline.

Taggart, who was 31 at the time, killed her on December 21 or 22, 2014, and her body was discovered three weeks later on January 12, 2015.

Her daughter, Lorraine Taggart Bristow, recalled the knock on the door: "It was my family liaison officer and he just looked at me and I knew.

"He just said: 'We've found a body' and I collapsed. It's everyone's worst nightmare.

"He killed my mum. He murdered her in cold blood."

Together with her father, they went to identify the body but, due to the extent of her injuries, they were not shown her face.

Lorraine said: "It was a little tattoo on her wrist; a purple rose which was mine and her favourite colour and a green leaf.

"I said: 'That's my mum'. Up to that point, I prayed it wasn't her, just that little moment of it not being her."

It was Christmas 1986 when Carol, a single mum with two sons, met Shaun.

Ross was her younger boy, around 18-months-old, and later the couple had Lorraine.

The boys came to know him as 'dad' and Lorraine described a happy childhood, recalling holidays every year and a comfortable lifestyle.

She recalled: "Ross and me used to play Barbie and Ken together, out in the garden, on holiday, running about, playing football, the normal brother and sister things.

"Even into our older years, we got on very well."

The boys' behaviour started to change after their real dad, Carol's ex-husband, was killed in an accident.

It started with petty theft but Shaun's attempts to discipline them were stopped, with their mum feeling he was "singling them out".

Carol avoided punishing the boys and instead lavished praise, gifts and affection on them, particularly Ross.

When he was older, he began stealing at work and lost a string of jobs.

Rather than admit it, Ross would lie, blame co-workers and manipulate situations to the point she would hear no criticism of him.

Free to do as he pleased, this led to a divide, her relationship with Shaun began to crumble and he left the family home.

Lorraine was next to go after being picked on and attacked.

She said: "I felt like the third wheel, their relationship was so odd.

"I didn't get why he was the blue-eyed boy. My mum started to turn against me and it got really nasty.

"We had been on a night out and he just started mouthing off: 'You think you've got it all'. He just kept repeating those words and started hitting me.

"My mum was there and didn't stop it. Too scared? I don't know. Nothing was ever said about it. Ever."

She moved out to live with her then boyfriend, now husband, Stephen Bristow.

He said: "It sent alarm bells in my head. Hitting your sister, hitting a woman? I didn't like Ross from the off. I thought he was a bully.

"He always had a hold over her. 'Mum I need this, mum I need that'. He was the golden boy."

As her health deteriorated, Carol relied on Ross for her medication.

He continued to steal from her and lie, pretending to have a job at Amazon when he was actually going to the family caravan at Pettycur Bay to sleep.

For his 'loyalty' and care in looking after her, she re-wrote her will to leave half of her estate to him.

However, she finally discovered what he was really like.

Former Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll said: "Around December, she was talking about taking him out of her will and even sent him a text saying you're now sponging off me."

The text Carol sent read: "Apart from feed me you do f*** all, you're nothing but a sponger to me Ross."

Shaun said: "I think she's confronted him, I think he's lost the plot as he realised things were going to be changing and thought he was going to be put out on his own."

Mr Driscoll added: "Carol was beaten about the head. I don't think we know exactly what with or how but she certainly sustained serious injuries."

After the attack, she was wrapped in bed sheets, tied with builders' rope, bundled into the boot of her car and driven to Pettycur Bay.

He hid her in her bedroom there.

Lorraine said: "She was not dead at this point. As soon as you die your blood clots, and there was blood spillage all the way up the corridor of the caravan and in her bedroom.

"I suppose at this point she's gained consciousness. He's then got on top of her and strangled her to death."

At some point over the next few days, he moved her body underneath an empty adjacent caravan.

He later went to meet a woman for sex, who he had just met through a dating site, and then went to Edinburgh for a night out, buying trainers, going for a meal and watching Hunger Games at the cinema, all paid for with Carol's credit card.

Two days later, he called 101 to report her missing, saying they'd had an argument and she had left the house – something the family just didn't believe.

Lorraine said: "I knew in my gut he had done something and he was lying."

Ross kept up the act, joining the family's social media campaign to find Carol, and even sharing a post to "thank everyone for their support" and that "hopefully my mum will turn up".

Days after the murder, he went back to the caravan in the middle of the night to clean it thoroughly.

Carol's car was found on Christmas Day and Lorraine "burst into tears" – she knew something was wrong when told her mum's handbag was found in the boot.

Stephen explained: "She wouldn't have put her bag in the boot as her bag was always by her side."

Ross tried to pawn his grandad's watch and his mother's ring, which she always wore, but the shopworker became suspicious and called the police.

Mr Driscoll said: "This was the start of his undoing. Pawning his mother's property when she was, according to Ross Taggart, a missing person."

The police discovered the sat nav in Carol's car had been used to find the house of a woman that Ross had sex with. He had been driving the car.

He was arrested and the evidence all pointed to him.

At the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in November 2015, Ross pleaded not guilty and denied killing his mum.

The family attended every day and sat right behind him, separated only by a pain of glass.

Stephen said: "It was horrific. He didn't turn round once, he didn't look at us once."

The jury took less than a hour to find him guilty of murder, unanimously.

Lorraine said: "There was no reaction from him. I was staring at him, please react, have some remorse, that's your mother you've murdered. Why?

"I totally didn't know that person in front of me."

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years.

Stephen said: "The sentence was nothing. He'll be younger than Carol when he gets out."

Shaun concluded: "It became more and more difficult from our point of view as a family, realising that we had spent a large part of our lives with this boy and we just didn't recognise him, we just didn't know him any more."