Edinburgh newlyweds threw water over neighbour then stabbed him to death

Kathleen Downey.
Kathleen Downey.
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A newly-wed couple brutally stabbed a man to death after throwing a pan of boiling water and sugar over him.

Colin Skilbeck answered the door to downstairs neighbours Rene Howieson and his wife Kathleen Downey despite his flatmate urging him not to.

Mr Skilbeck suffered nine knife wounds in the subsequent deadly attack with one penetrating his heart.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Howieson had turned up at the flat door armed with a knife and Downey had a kitchen pan filled with the boiling sugar solution.

Advocate depute Steven Borthwick said: “Kathleen Downey threw the pan of sugar and water into the face of Mr Silbeck.

“Rene Howieson struck the deceased repeatedly to the body with the knife. At some point in the course of the incident Kathleen Downey was handed the knife by her co-accused and also struck the deceased with it,” he said.

Howieson ,36, earlier admitted murdering Mr Skilbeck ,41, by throwing the solution in his face and repeatedly striking him with a knife on March 12 this year at a flat in the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh.

Downey ,35, had also faced a murder charge but the Crown today accepted her plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide on the basis of diminished responsibility.

She admitted killing Mr Skilbeck by throwing the water and sugar at him and striking him with the knife.

A judge told the pair: “This, of course, is a tragic case. A person has lost his life as a result of the actings by you.”

Howieson and Downey, who both had alcohol and substance abuse problems, had married about a month and a half before the killing. They will be sentenced next month.