Edinburgh blade killer was facing child sex offence charges when he carried out brutal murder
A killer who plunged a blade six inches into his victim’s throat was on bail for domestic abuse and accused of sex offence cases at the time.
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Paul Smith was charged with showing sexual images and videos to children weeks before killing electrician Andrew McCarron outside Edinburgh City FC’s social club in July 2019.
The 44-year-old had targeted a schoolgirl aged 12 and two 14-year-olds but despite being on bail for domestic abuse he was freed and three weeks later knifed Andrew to death.
Smith – who this week lost an appeal against his minimum 18 year sentence for murder – was jailed for 13 months in April after he admitted sex offences at his capital flat in June 2019.
He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years, which will come into effect when he is eventually paroled on life licence.
Smith was freed to kill Andrew, 49, despite the crimes he was already accused of at the time.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard Smith pushed a knife six inches into his victim’s throat . The attack happened moments after Mr McCarron tried to intervene when Smith went after his ex-wife's partner at Edinburgh City FC's social club.
Smith had gone out armed with a knife after months of sending threatening texts to his ex-wife, Nicola Johnstone, about her new partner Jamie Bell.
He developed an "obsessive hatred" of Mr Bell and a disturbance broke out when he went to the club where the Bell family were enjoying a night out on July 21, 2019.
During proceedings last year, jurors also heard electrician Mr McCarron was engaged to Mr Bell's mother Catherine.
Lawyers for Smith lodged an appeal on their client's behalf at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh claiming he had suffered a miscarriage of justice.
But on Thursday the appeal court rejected the arguments after hearing from prosecutor Roddy Dunlop QC about how the jury were entitled to find Smith guilty of murder.
Lord Carloway said: "The court is entirely satisfied that no reasonable jury could have returned a verdict of culpable homicide on the basis of provocation in this case."
Smith’s counsel said evidence in the case showed that in the moments before the fatal assault, Mr McCarron issued death threats to Smith. He said this would have entitled jurors to conclude that Smith was provoked into attacking Mr McCarron.
However, Mr Dunlop said that Smith's actions were "grossly disproportionate".
He added: "To say there is a degree of proportionality between shouts and threats of that nature by a man who is holding his arms out; he is evidently unarmed - to say it is a proportionate reaction when a concealed knife is pulled out and plunged 15.5 centimetres into the neck severing major arteries and the like - that is simply untenable proposition.
"One could not get a more clear example of a grossly disproportionate reaction.
"There is no realistic possibility that a reasonable jury - looking at the evidence as a whole would heave return a verdict to a charge other than murder."