‘Maniac’ killed pal in party row

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A MAN who killed his close friend in a frenzied knife attack during a row at a party is facing a life sentence after pleading guilty to murder.

Robert Gracie, 23, was “foaming at the mouth” like a maniac as he stabbed his pal through the heart .

He then phoned his boss to say: “I’ll no’ be at my work for ten years. I’ve just stabbed someone.”

The High Court in Edinburgh yesterday heard that Gracie claimed victim James Tierney, 27, had attacked him with a brick.

But advocate depute Pino Di Emidio, prosecuting, said no witnesses had seen Mr Tierney with a brick and the Crown did not accept Gracie’s story.

Mr Di Emidio said Gracie and Mr Tierney had known each other since childhood and shared an interest in cars.

“They were close friends,” he added.

The court heard how Gracie decided to have a party on April 1 at the home he shared with his mum in Letham Place, Pumpherston, and invited Mr Tierney and others.

All were drinking and some of those at the house were smoking cannabis.

“At one stage, photographs were taken on a mobile phone which showed that all persons in the house seemed to be getting on well together,” said Mr Di Emidio.

But the atmosphere changed, he said. Robert Gracie appeared angry when mopping up some drink Mr Tierney had spilled.

Another argument broke out between Mr Tierney and another man and a picture frame was knocked off a wall.

“Mr Gracie apparently became upset at what he saw as a lack of respect for his mother’s home,” said the prosecutor.

“He went to the foot of the staircase and shouted at all persons present to leave his house. He was swearing as he did so.”

This upset Mr Tierney, the court heard, and he challenged Gracie to fight in the garden.

It was around midnight when they squared up to each other and “enraged” Gracie said he was going to go mental.

Witnesses thought Gracie was just throwing punches as he and Mr Tierney fought, but he had picked up a knife from the kitchen and inflicted eight stab wounds to the other man’s neck and body.

Mr Tierney died from severe blood loss after Gracie’s knife penetrated his heart, lungs and aorta and severed veins and arteries in his neck.

One witness said Gracie was “like a maniac” with an angry face. “He was screaming, gritting his teeth, he was foaming at the mouth.”

Mr Tierney of Harrysmuir Terrace, Pumpherston, had worked as a welder until he was made redundant.

He was described as a popular individual. He had an eight-year-old daughter.