Killer takes appeal to Supreme Court after freedom bid snub

James Purves
James Purves
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A KILLER jailed for 15 years for stabbing a young father to death is taking his appeal against conviction to the Supreme Court in London after his third bid for freedom was refused by judges.

James Purves was cleared of murder by a jury, but they found the 29-year-old joiner guilty of the culpable homicide of Paul Scott in February last year.

Purves has seen two appeals to the Court of Appeals in Edinburgh refused, and another attempt to have the case heard before the Supreme Court turned down. Now lawyers for Purves have confirmed that they intend to take the appeal directly to the Supreme Court and argue that their client’s actions were protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Purves, 29, had claimed he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed scaffolder Mr Scott with a knife in his flat in Toll House Gardens, Tranent.

At his trial last October, he said Mr Scott was the one with the knife and claimed he had stabbed him as he tried to disarm him.

His lawyers contend that Article 8 gives protection to a person’s home and conferred the right to use force against a trespasser, although that did not include lethal force.

Purves’ legal team argue that the trial judge should have directed the jury that he had some right to use force to protect his home against intrusion.

This argument was put before the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh at a recent hearing as Purves sought leave to take the case to the Supreme Court.

However, Lord Eassie said that “the extent to which a householder may deploy force to remove a trespasser was not a relevant issue in the trial”.

He added: “It was not the position of [Purves] at his trial that the use of the knife with which he killed the deceased was ever in defence of his property or the sanctity of his dwelling.”

Lord Eassie pointed out that his defence was that Mr Scott had come to the house armed with a knife and Purves had “managed to disarm the deceased and thereafter used the knife in protecting himself from a continuing attack”.

The judge refused permission to pass the appeal to the Supreme Court but Purves is now taking his case directly to the higher court.

A spokesman for L&G Robertson, the law firm representing Purves, confirmed the appeal would now be put before the London court for consideration.

Mr Scott, 22, from Niddrie Mill, who was the father of a young boy named Jay, did not live to see the birth of his second son, Jared, on April 26 last year. The trial heard how Purves’ on-off girlfriend, Donna Beatson, turned up at his first-floor flat just before 4am last February 7 along with three women and three men, including Mr Scott, whom she had met during a night out.

Ms Beatson let them in with keys she had secretly had cut the previous afternoon.

Moments later, Mr Scott lay dying after Purves struck at least three blows with a large kitchen knife after shouting and swearing about the people entering his flat. Witnesses said Mr Scott’s arms were at his side and he did nothing to defend himself against 19-stone Purves.