Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Jail for Edinburgh flat fire death killer David Nairne

David Nairne
Image caption David Nairne carried out a "vicious and sustained attack" on Alan Ross

A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a gay friend in Edinburgh.

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

He carried out a "vicious and sustained attack" on Alan Ross stabbing him 11 times in the face and neck in February.

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

The fatal wound was so deep it severed the jugular veins on both sides of the victim's neck.

The jury 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, making a microwave "bomb" and disposing 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.

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

During the trial several witnesses gave evidence that Mr Ross had previously told friends that he had "slept" with Nairne.

Nairne had claimed in his defence that he was heterosexual and had never had sex with a man.

He said he had been "provoked" into attacking Mr Ross after he woke up to find his victim performing a sex act on him.

Advocate depute Stephen O'Rourke, who during the trial described the knife attack as "frenzied", revealed 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.

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

"He never denied taking the life of Mr Ross and he offered a plea of guilty to culpable homicide in March."

Temporary Judge John Beckett told Nairne: "The infliction of a large number of stabbing injuries to the head and neck of the deceased demonstrates that you carried out a vicious and sustained attack on Alan Ross, a well-liked, kind gentleman who showed only kindness to you.

"You were armed with a knife when you arrived at Alan Ross's flat. You killed him by stabbing him through the neck, causing an injury which almost extended out the other side of his neck."

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