Dalry sugar mix killer found with homemade weapons in his cell

Howieson was caged for the murder of Colin Skilbeck
Howieson was caged for the murder of Colin Skilbeck
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A killer was caught with home-made weapons in his prison cell just months into his life sentence, a court heard today.

Rene Howieson is serving a minimum of 14 years and two months for murdering Colin Skilbeck at the victim’s Dalry home.

Howieson, 37, admitted stabbing Mr Skilbeck repeatedly and throwing boiling water mixed with sugar in his face.

The concoction - known in criminal circles as ‘sticky water’ and ‘scheme napalm’ - causes permanent scarring.

The fatal attack on Mr Skilbeck happened in Gibson Terrace in March last year and Howieson’s wife, Kathleen Downey, 35, admitted culpable homicide and was jailed for five years and three months.

The High Court in Livingston heard in January that the couple were neighours of the victim.

Downey, who lived in the flat beneath, threw water with sugar over Mr Skilbeck in the doorway of his flat following an earlier disagreement over noise before stabbing him.

Emergency services were called to the scene a by a flatmate of the victim and Police Scotland officers performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Despite their efforts, Mr Skilbeck was pronounced dead at the scene.

Howieson, pled guilty to murder at at the High Court in Glasgow at an earlier hearing in July last year and admitted to stabbing their victim in the torso following Downey’s attack.

Following the case, Detective Inspector Susan Balfour of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team said: “Howieson and Downey have both admitted to being responsible for causing Colin’s death in what was a shockingly brutal attack.

“Our thoughts very much remain with Colin’s family at this difficult time. Although nothing can undo their actions, I hope this conviction helps provide Colin’s family with some sense of justice.”

Howieson appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday and admitted possession of two bladed items at HMP Shotts on July 19.

Paula Russell, prosecuting, said guards found a prison fork with the middle prong missing during a search of Howieson’s cell.

A toothbrush with a sharpened end was also recovered from his stash, hidden in a box under his bed.

Defence agent Kevin Connor said Howieson had found it “very difficult” to adjust to his life sentence.

He added: “This serious further offending is something the parole board must take into account when deliberating when he should be released.”

Sheriff Vincent Smith jailed Howieson for eight months. The weapons find will be considered by the Parole Board when he applies for release.

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