Devastated James Gatti family’s fury at killer’s verdict

The family of a party-goer who was killed over a missing bottle of Malibu has hit out in fury after the man who stabbed him was jailed for nine years.

Paul Beattie, 46, was sentenced at Edinburgh High Court yesterday after being found guilty of the culpable homicide of 34-year-old James Gatti following an incident at Guardwell Glen, Gilmerton last year.

James Gatti was stabbed to death last year. Picture: Contributed

James Gatti was stabbed to death last year. Picture: Contributed

His uncle Kevin, 57, told the Evening News that the family were left devastated by the verdict.

He said: “Nine years for taking somebody’s life? That’s not justice.

“He took the stand and told the court he only meant to poke him. Poke him! The knife went all the way up to the hilt.”

Kevin, whose family weren’t in the court when the verdict was delivered, said that they “couldn’t believe” the judge’s decision and that they wanted Beattie “off the streets for life”.

“We’ve been told that we can’t appeal. If that’s your justice you can stick it.

“For any family to go through that, to lose him like that. He was no angel but he was a man’s man. All we wanted is justice for James.”

Beattie stood trial for the murder of his neighbour Mr Gatti but the jury convicted him of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

It prompted a furious response from relatives of Mr Gatti who started shouting, swearing and screaming from the public benches at the High Court.

Beattie, of Guardwell Glen, denied murdering Mr Gatti following a party at the home of his victim’s step mother Lorraine Cole.

The court heard Beattie admit that he stabbed Mr Gatti following a confrontation at the party. He claimed that he had acted to help his girlfriend Louise McCulloch, 35. Beattie told the court that Louise was being assaulted by Mr Gatti. He said the dead man had his hands around Louise’s neck.

He told defence advocate Shelagh McCall QC: “I reached over and poked him with a knife.

“I wanted to give him a superficial cut. I didn’t want the knife to go all the way in.”

When Ms McCall asked him to explain his position, Mr Beattie said that he thought that if he inflicted a superficial wound on Mr Gatti, people would stop assaulting Louise.

He added: “I thought if they saw blood and if I said ‘he’s been stabbed’, they’d leave her alone.”

Mr Gatti collapsed at the scene and later died at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from two stab wounds which he had sustained during the confrontation with Beattie.

Beattie and Ms McCulloch brought two bottles of Malibu to the shindig. But the court heard that Ms McCulloch got into a fight with a women at the party because she thought that the rum-based drink had been stolen. The court heard that both Beattie and Ms McCulloch were asked to leave the party and were physically removed from the house.

Beattie admitted he had been drinking heavily during the evening. He said when he returned to the property, he noticed Ms McCulloch wasn’t with him. Beattie told the jury that he was concerned for his girlfriend’s safety and to returned to Ms Cole’s house with a knife which he kept at his front door for “gardening”.