Man guilty of Brian Bathgate murder

Brian Bathgate
Brian Bathgate
Have your say

A man has been found guilty of carrying out a brutal murder at a farm cottage two years ago.

Unemployed Gordon Veitch had denied murdering Brian Bathgate in a knife attack at Barney Mains Cottages, near Haddington.

But after a jury convicted him of the crime on a majority verdict at the High Court in Edinburgh there were emotional scenes from relatives of the victim sitting in the public benches.

A judge told Veitch, 56, that the sentence for the crime was fixed by law - life imprisonment - but he would get a background report before dealing with him next month.

Veitch, of McNeill Walk, in Tranent, had been on bail throughout his trial and his defence solicitor advocate John Scott QC asked that that continue ahead of sentencing.

But judge Sean Murphy QC remanded him in custody.

Veitch, who was living in Haddington, at the time of the murder on March 13 in 2013 had denied assaulting the 45-year-old joiner by striking him on the neck and hand with a knife.

He stabbed the victim through the neck cutting his windpipe and carotid artery. Mr Bathgate’s body was later found by his brother.

Advocate depute Bruce Erroch said: “The investigation into the death of Mr Bathgate was a protracted investigation requiring the interview of many, many dozens of witnesses.”

The prosecutor gave victim impact statements from the deceased’s wife and sons to the judge.

Veitch had gone to the country cottage in the early hours of the day of the fatal attack, but left the roadway on his approach and went through a field.

He said he never went into the cottage but was there at the time when the Crown contended that the murder took place.

Benefit claimant Veitch told police that he had banged on the door a few times and took a glove off to knock on the window.

CCTV from a camera at the farm was analysed to show light coming from the doorway as if the door was opened.

Police were able to calculate from other footage in Haddington that Veitch would have been able to get to the cottage for the door opening. They also found the sim card in his mobile phone was connecting to masts covering the farm cottages.

Gloves that he wore could have been responsible for blood marks found at the scene.

Forensic experts in footwear and gait were also called and jurors were shown a large scale photographic recreation of bloody prints found in the hallway of the cottage where the door was unlocked.

Experts concluded that the person who made the prints walked with the right foot pointing out. Jurors were told that there was “moderate support” for the proposition that a person seen on CCTV, who was Veitch, was the same person who made the prints in the hallway with footwear.