Ex denies threats to have flat murder accused killed

THE former girlfriend of a joiner accused of stabbing a man to death in their home has denied she threatened to have someone kill her on-off partner, whom she suspected was cheating on her.

Wednesday, 19th October 2011, 1:09 pm

James Purves is accused of murdering scaffolder Paul Scott, 22, who was part of a group of people brought to his home in Tranent by his ex-partner Donna Beatson in the early hours of the morning.

Ms Beatson told Purves’ trial at the High Court in Edinburgh how she went on a drug-fuelled drinking session while sending threatening texts to Purves, who was refusing to answer her calls on the day of the killing.

But she denied being “possessed with rage” when she arrived at the East Lothian flat with Mr Scott and others on February 7 to find two women in Purves’ company.

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Meanwhile, 29-year-old Purves almost broke down in the dock yesterday as he told a jury of his “horrible feeling” as he stabbed Mr Scott, an act he claimed was in self-defence.

Purves told the court the men in the group, including Mr Scott, had previously attacked him.

Ms Beatson, 21, told the court that she and Purves had a volatile four-year relationship. She said they frequently split up and she admitted repeatedly threatening Purves and his family.

The mother of one said Purves had been out drinking on the day before the killing and she tried unsuccessfully to contact him by phone.

Solicitor advocate John Carroll asked her if some of her texts to Purves were “threatening”, and Ms Beatson replied: “Probably”. Asked if the texts suggested she had “got someone to kill him”, Ms Beatson replied: “No”.

Ms Beatson said she went out drinking with her cousin, meeting up with friend Mr Scott in a pub before travelling with him and others by car to the Sports Bar in Musselburgh, Walkabout at the Omni Centre and Madogs in George Street.

Ms Beatson admitted she had been drinking and taking cocaine, and had crashed the car while in Edinburgh.

She invited Mr Scott and five others, two men and three women, back to the Tranent flat.

Mr Carroll asked Ms Beatson if she was a “woman possessed with rage” when she came home. She said: “No”.

Ms Beatson said she had fought with a woman who had been in the bathroom of the flat when she arrived, and she had not seen the fatal altercation.

Purves later told the jury how he left the living room of the first-floor flat in Tollhouse Gardens, where he had been listening to music with a male friend and the two women following a night-out, swearing and yelling at the unexpected arrivals to get out of his home.

Mr Carroll asked Purves if he saw a knife. “Yes, it was in Paul Scott’s right hand,” replied Purves. “I seen a knife in his hand and I just tried to grab it right away.”

Purves – who weighed 19 stones at the time – and Mr Scott struggled over the knife, the trial heard.

“Paul grabbed me with his left hand and started punching me in the stomach,” Purves continued. Asked what he did then, Purves sobbed and answered: “Tried to stab Paul to make him let go.”

Mr Carroll’s question: “Were you aware that the attempt to stab him was successful?” was met with a long silence.

Finally, Purves said: “I felt a horrible feeling. I pulled my hand back and just dropped the knife.”

Purves then described how he shouted for someone to call an ambulance and fled from the flat. He arrived at a barn and sheltered from pouring rain.

Eventually he contacted his solicitor from a phone box and arranged to hand himself in to police.

The trial continues.