However, Pawel Rodak, 21, will stand trial accused of murdering 64-year-old Roger Gray, a part-time lecturer in actuarial mathematics and statistics at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, after prosecutors rejected his plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Rodak admitted assaulting Mr Gray at his home in the capital’s upmarket Merchiston Crescent on March 18 and 19.
He admitted striking Mr Gray on the head and body with a knife or similar instrument, killing him.
Rodak pleaded not guilty to a further charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
He is accused of turning on a gas hob at Mr Gray’s house and placing a lit candle near the cooker in a bid to cause an explosion and destroy evidence.
Rodak also denies disposing of various items from Mr Gray’s house and hiding the clothes he wore at the time.
Advocate depute Peter McCormack, for the Crown, told the court Rodak’s pleas were not accepted.
Judge Lady Dorrian fixed the trial to begin on December 8.