Another ten years in prison for 'Scotland's most dangerous teenager' - Darren Cornelius

A serial thug who once stabbed a nine-year-old girl has been jailed for a further 10 years for slashing a gangland hitman during a prison hobbies workshop.

By Stephen Wilkie
Thursday, 1st August 2019, 1:56 pm
Darren Cornelius
Darren Cornelius

Darren Cornelius, 29, struck Marcello Pacitti, 38, with a Stanley blade at Saughton jail on September 14 last year.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Cornelius pounced on Pacitti as the pair were enjoying leisure time.

Cornelius is serving a life sentence for leaving a stranger scarred for life after carrying out a random and frenzied attack upon him.

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Pacitti, of Sandyhills, Glasgow, was ordered to serve at least 15 years in custody for murdering 20-year-old George Walker in the city’s Castlemilk area in August 2006.

Cornelius struck Pacitti in what was described by judge Lord Burns as an “unprovoked attack”.

A jury had earlier heard how Pacitti was rushed to St John’s Hospital in Livingston and required 43 stitches across his face and ear.

Moments after hearing the revelation, Cornelius stopped proceedings against him by pleading guilty to a charge of causing severe injury and permanent disfigurement to Pacitti.

Lord Burns told Cornelius that he had no other option but to impose a further jail sentence on him.

He added: “This was a serious and unprovoked attack and I can tell from the way you continue to shake your head as I speak that you refuse to acknowledge its seriousness.”

Cornelius, who was standing in a dock between two security guards, replied to him: “Excuse me sir, it wasn’t unprovoked.”

The brute achieved notoriety in May 2008 when he became one of the first people in Scotland to be given an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) - effectively meaning he may never be released again.

Judge Lord Bracadale ordered him to serve a minimum of five years after he pleaded guilty to punching a man called Daniel Sweeney and repeatedly stabbing him with a knife.

On that occasion, the judge heard how Cornelius punched Mr Sweeney and repeatedly stabbed him with a knife in Edinburgh’s Leamington Terrace.

He had claimed that he was stabbing an invisible man only he could see.

In a previous horrific crime, in 2000, when Cornelius was aged 11, he carried out a frenzied knife attack on a nine-year-old girl.

He abducted the girl from her grandmother’s house, stabbed her eight times - narrowing missing the artery in her throat - and then left her for dead near the Fountain Park leisure complex in the Capital.

Cornelius was detained in a secure unit for that attack and his victim later told a newspaper that she’d throw a party if he died.

His victim on the most recent occasion was convicted in August 2007 at the High Court in Glasgow of murdering George Walker, who had a role in the Ken Loach directed movie Sweet Sixteen.

Pacitti shot Mr Walker as he sat in his home in August 2006.. He was with his father, also called George, who was believed to have been the intended target of the killing.

During the latest high court proceedings, a jury heard how Cornelius was part of a group of 10 prisoners taking part in a hobbies workshop where inmates work on jigsaws, picture framing and making models from matchsticks.

After the assault Cornelius was told he being put a report in the jail and said: "What have I done?"

Pacitti said he was working on a jigsaw when he was attacked from behind and a felt stinging sensation and pressure at the side of his face. He said: "It was a strange feeling. I knew my face wasn't right."

He told prosecution Peter Ferguson, QC, prosecuting: "At that time I didn't look all the way round. I was more interested in getting away from the incident."

Cornelius then changed his plea.

After admitting the attack, jurors were told that Cornelius was serving an OLR with a minimum jail term of five years which began in 2007. He has committed further violent crimes in prison.

Defence counsel Euan Dow said Cornelius has made progress in the prison system in recent years but began taking drugs again after learning his mother was seriously ill.

Mr Dow added: “There is little I can say in the way of mitigation given the evidence my lord has heard. I would invite you to restrict the prison sentence as much as you can.”

Cornelius was then taken to the cells.