A KILLER jailed for 15 years for stabbing a young father to death has had charges of running a drug gang supplying cocaine across the Lothians dropped by prosecutors.
James Purves was found guilty by a jury of the culpable homicide of Paul Scott, 22, who died just two months before the birth of his second son.
Purves, 28, was due to face another trial for the drug offences, where he was accused of running a network of couriers supplying cocaine.
But the Crown Office has decided that proceeding with the case was “no longer in the public interest” in the wake of Purves’ conviction.
Prosecutors had previously described Purves as a “key figure” in Edinburgh’s drug trade after a police operation against a city gang recovered £200,000 worth of cocaine.
Purves was facing a third trial over the drug charges at the time he killed Mr Scott in his flat in Tollhouse Gardens, Tranent, on February 7.
Just three months earlier, a trial was temporarily deserted by prosecutors on its fifth day.
Purves, who always denied the offences, was jailed for six years in October 2009, but was later freed on appeal and a retrial was ordered.
The earlier trials had heard that Purves was tracked by a team of undercover officers as part of Operation Larva. They caught him carrying out alleged drug deals at the retail parks at Fort Kinnaird and Straiton.
Officers also followed one of his alleged couriers, Wendy Young, from Edinburgh to Merseyside, where she picked up four kilos of cocaine worth around £200,000, which was seized by police.
Prosecutors alleged that Purves, of Bethlehem Way, Lochend, was in control of a gang of couriers and dealers, which included Young.
Purves was alleged to have used a fleet of vehicles to control a drug empire, with police allegedly observing him regularly changing vehicles.
His mobile phone was monitored while officers used CCTV cameras across the city to follow his movements.
In March 2008, Wendy Young, 40, was sentenced to three years and eight months over drug charges.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “The procurator fiscal at Edinburgh received a report concerning James William Purves in connection with a number of alleged offences.
“Prosecutors must constantly review all of the facts and circumstances in each case. This is right and proper in the public interest.
“It was decided that it was no longer in the public interest to proceed, therefore the indictment did not call on Monday. The case is now closed.”
A police spokesman said: “The decision to continue with criminal proceedings is a matter for the Crown Office.”
Purves was convicted of the culpable homicide of Mr Scott at the High Court in Edinburgh on October 20 after a jury cleared him of murder.
The murder trial heard how Purves’ on-off girlfriend, Donna Beatson, 21, turned up at his first-floor flat just before 4am on February 7 along with three women and three men, including Mr Scott, whom she had met during a night out.
Moments later, Mr Scott lay dying after Purves struck at least three blows with a large kitchen knife.
Purves claimed he acted in self-defence.
Mr Scott’s partner, Fiona King, 30, last week told the Evening News of her heartbreak that the couple’s son, Jared, born on April 26, would never see his father.