Life sentence looming for murderer of Paige Doherty

John Leathem has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering the Clydebank schoolgirl. Picture; PA
John Leathem has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering the Clydebank schoolgirl. Picture; PA

A SANDWICH shop owner is facing a life sentence after carrying out a “frenzied” knife attack on a teenage customer.

Paige Doherty, 15, had stopped for a breakfast roll on the way to her hairdressing job when she was stabbed repeatedly by John Leathem in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on March 19.

Leathem, 32, carried out the attack in the back office of Delicious Deli on the town’s Fleming Avenue, apparently after a short exchange with Paige about a job.

CCTV footage showed him carrying her body out of the shop in a bin bag and putting it in the boot of his car. Two days later a member of the public discovered her remains dumped in nearby woodland.

A post-mortem examination recorded 61 stab wounds, mainly to her head and neck, and 85 further cuts the teenager is thought to have suffered as she tried to fight off her attacker.

Leathem admitted murder at the High Court in Glasgow, where judge Lady Rae told the married father-of-two: “This was a savage, frenzied attack on a child.”

Paige – who was described by her grandmother as a “kind and selfless person and all-round good girl” – was employed part-time at a hairdressers in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire.

Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC described the killing as a “spontaneous, gross overreaction” and said there had been some discussion about whether it could be linked to events involving a close relative of Leathem.

The court heard the relation had faced difficulties such as finding a job after being convicted of a sexual offence a number of years ago.

Before Paige’s murder, Mr Duguid said Leathem had been “an ordinary member of the community”.

Paige’s family said they will never get over what happened to the teenager.

The court heard how her mother Pamela Munro hears her daughter’s screams in her nightmares and step­father Andrew said they could not get out of their heads “the terror that she must have experienced”.

Detective Superintendent Duncan Sloan said: “Paige’s untimely death shocked a community to its core, particularly as the man responsible was one of them.

“The support from the local community has been much appreciated and I hope that Paige’s family can take some comfort from the result of the court proceedings.”

Leathem will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on October 12.