Killer gets life for murdering friend

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THE family of a man murdered by a friend in a savage attack said they were “completely devastated” by his loss.

David Nairne, 26, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for carrying out a “vicious and sustained attack” on gay friend Alan Ross, stabbing him 11 times in the face and neck. The fatal wound was so deep that it severed the jugular veins on both sides of the victim’s neck.

Nairne, 26, originally from Inverness, was told he must spend a minimum of 20 years in prison before being considered for parole.

A jury at the High Court in Livingston unanimously found him guilty of murdering 45-year-old Mr Ross in his home in Pilton in February.

They returned a majority verdict of guilty to a charge that he attempted to defeat the ends of justice by setting fire to the dead man’s clothing, made a microwave “bomb” and disposed of evidence, including blood-soaked clothing and two knives.

Firemen who were called to Mr Ross’s flat in Pilton Road North after neighbours smelled smoke told how they found the victim’s badly charred corpse on the floor of his bedroom with the walls and bed soaked in blood.

Outside court, Susan Watt, who described herself as Mr Ross’s “second mum”, said: “Friends and family of Alan are delighted that justice has been done. The loss of Alan has left us completely devastated. There’s a huge void in our lives and we still miss him every day.”

Nairne was given a concurrent six-year prison sentence for the secondary charge and both sentences were backdated to March 1 when he was first remanded in custody.

Advocate depute Stephen O’Rourke, who during the trial described the knife attack as “frenzied”, revealed that Nairne had an extensive criminal record which ran to four pages of convictions.

He said the accused, who was unemployed and lived in Edinburgh at the time of the murder, had a long history of alcohol and substance problems. He had been convicted several times of assault, assault to injury and wilful fireraising for which he had served sentences of up to four months.

Defence counsel Robert Anthony QC told the court: “Clearly he is a man with alcohol problems.”