Killer Andrew Fisher sent to psychiatric hospital

Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Bill Henry
Edinburgh High Court. Picture: Bill Henry
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A convicted killer who stabbed to death another murderer in a brutal attack after both men had been freed from prison was ordered to be detained at a high security psychiatric hospital today.

Andrew Fisher inflicted 32 wounds to the head, neck and torso of Craig MacKenzie before abandoning the victim in his flat.

Fisher, 48, later made a 999 call to police and confessed to the killing and told them where to find him adding that his life was not worth living but “he didn’t have the balls to do anything about it”.

Defence counsel Robert Anthony QC told the High Court in Edinburgh: “I don’t think I have come across a case with so many admissions to the offence.”

Schizophrenic Fisher, who was jailed for life in 1990, after murdering his wife was released from prison in 2001 and spent 12 years in the community with only one driving conviction before carrying out the slaying of 40-year-old Mackenzie at his home in Milton Street, in Edinburgh, on July 5 this year.

He was assessed as sane and fit to plead and admitted the killing of MacKenzie by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a knife, when he appeared in court. The Crown accepted his plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide on the basis of diminished responsibility.

Advocate depute Stephen McCloy said: “The deceased also had a previous conviction for murder and met the accused while they were both in prison and whist they were carrying out voluntary work with the same charity.”

MacKenzie was jailed after he was convicted of the murder of 25-year-old David Edwards who was found to have suffered a catalogue of injuries after he was dug up from a shallow grave in Edinburgh’s Seafield Crematorium.

Mr McCloy said on the day of the fatal attack MacKenzie had attended a meeting of a homeless charity where he was working on a project for offenders.

He then went home and sent a text to a friend saying he would phone him to arrange to pay back money. The friend made efforts to get in touch with him and even went to his flat but got no reply.

Part-time shop assistant Fisher had travelled into the city from his home in Musselburgh, in East Lothian, with his partner Sandra Whyte and went to help at a charity.

He later returned home and she noticed it looked like he had been drinking. He smoked two joints and told her he was stoned.

The following day he called her on the phone and said he had “done something bad”. He told her he had killed Craig and claimed he had been involved in drugging and raping him.

Minutes later he made the call to emergency services and when police arrived at Musselburgh promenade he waved to officers to attract their attention and told them: “I’ve killed a guy called Craig, I don’t want to go on any longer.”

The victim’s blood was found on a jacket he had inside a holdall.

He was taken in a police van to show then the location. Mr McCloy said: “During the journey the accused appeared relaxed and calm and freely said on more than one occasion ‘I’ve killed him’ and ‘He is in a bath’.”

Police forced entry to the house and found the victim’s body slumped over a bath. He had suffered defensive injuries to his hands as well as a catalogue of wounds including knife blows to the neck which had cut carotid arteries.

Fisher told police he had heard voices before but not during the incident. He said he had “planned to kill Craig” and another man but could not get him because he was in Perth.

A psychiatrist who saw Fisher said that the offence would have been significantly influenced by his mental illness. The court also heard that there was no evidence to suggest that he had been drugged and raped by MacKenzie and others.

Mr Anthony said it would be of concern to the public that a man who had a conviction for murder had been released and gone on to commit such an offence.

But he added: “The public will be protected for many, many years if he is ever even released by the Parole Board.”

He said that if Fisher, whose life sentence licence was revoked within days of the killing, was deemed fit to leave a psychiatric hospital he would be returned to the mainstream prison system.

Lord Stewart heard that Fisher required to be detained in hospital in conditions of special security which can only be provided at the State Hospital at Carstairs.

The judge ordered that he be held at the hospital under an interim compulsion order for 12 weeks, before he is returned to court when psychiatrists are expected to give evidence.