Billy said he loved me with his last breath. I’ll always have that

MURDER, EDINBURGH '1645hrs, 12/01/11'Press Office, Fettes'Police can now identify the man who died following an incident that happened at Castleview House, in the Gilemerton area of Edinburgh, on Tuesday evening.''He is 43-year-old William McPhee (married), of Clarinda Terrace and Greendykes, in the Inch area of the Capital. ''Inquiries are ongoing in relation to his death, any anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.''Website address: www.lbp.police
MURDER, EDINBURGH '1645hrs, 12/01/11'Press Office, Fettes'Police can now identify the man who died following an incident that happened at Castleview House, in the Gilemerton area of Edinburgh, on Tuesday evening.''He is 43-year-old William McPhee (married), of Clarinda Terrace and Greendykes, in the Inch area of the Capital. ''Inquiries are ongoing in relation to his death, any anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.''Website address: www.lbp.police
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A FATHER was stabbed to death after an argument broke out over a bar of chocolate, the victim’s heartbroken wife told today.

Roseanne McPhee said her late husband, William McPhee, was killed with a “Rambo-like sword” because he and his best friend bought a small bar of chocolate instead of a big one for fellow drinker Chanelle Barrett.

The petty argument developed into a violent brawl, which resulted in Mr McPhee, 43, being stabbed by Barrett’s boyfriend and left to die on the stairwell of a Gilmerton high rise.

His killer, William McArdle, 25, was yesterday convicted of his murder, at Castleview House in January. Barrett, 19, was convicted of assaulting Mr McPhee. Both were found guilty of the attempted murder of Colin Stewart, 41.

Today, Roseanne, who is suffering from terminal cancer, tearfully explained that her husband, a member of the travelling community, had been drinking with Barrett and his best friend Colin, when Barrett had a craving for a bar of chocolate.

Barrett gave the pair £1 but when they returned with the chocolate, she said she had wanted a “big bar”, sparking an argument.

Barrett then phoned her boyfriend, and the situation developed into violence after McArdle arrived, spilling into the common stair of the high rise.

Both Mr McPhee and Mr Stewart were left with stab injuries.

Roseanne, 39, who lives in Greendykes, said: “Chanelle gave Colin £1, but she didn’t feel they had bought her a big enough bar of chocolate. My Billy didn’t know Chanelle, they’d just met a couple of days before. He didn’t know what she was like.

“An argument kicked off and she said she was phoning her boyfriend. Billy was the kind of guy that got on with anybody, he didn’t do anything to deserve this.

“When they showed us the weapon they used in court, I nearly collapsed. I could only describe it as a Rambo-like sword and it had what looked like a knuckle-duster on the handle.

“We come from the travelling community and they were calling him a ‘gypsy, pikey b*****d’ before they attacked him. It was racist and hateful.”

Mrs McPhee, who suffers from Bartholin’s gland cancer, said she had still not faced spreading the ashes of her late husband, but hoped to hold a small gathering after the pair had been sentenced.

“My husband’s last words to one of the witnesses were ‘Tell my wife I love her’. I’ll always have that,” she said.

“I want to leave Edinburgh after this. I want to go back travelling to the north, but I won’t because Billy and I lived in this house. It was his castle.”

Talking of the sentencing, she said: “I’d lock them up and throw away the key. They’ve taken away my husband. I can never accept an apology from them.

“I saw McArdle looking at me in a weird way in court on the final day. I just looked straight back at him and called him a rat.”

Originally from Wick in the Highlands, Mr McPhee – who was also known as William Townsley – had lived in suburbs across the Capital.

He married his wife four years ago in South Queensferry and the couple had one child, a baby girl, who died of cot death aged just six months. He had two children from a previous relationship.

Detective Inspector Gary Cunningham said: “It is my sincere hope that the convictions will allow both Mr McPhee’s family and Mr Stewart to achieve some form of closure.”

vraimes@edinburghnews.com