Glasgow & West Scotland

Two men jailed for life over brutal murder in Hamilton

Police tape
Image caption Mr Downie was the victim of a "frenzied attack"

Two men have been jailed for life after pleading guilty to the brutal murder of a man in South Lanarkshire.

Peter Burns, 41, and John Holland, 40, killed 28-year-old William Downie in Hamilton in April this year in an apparent revenge attack.

The pair chased Downie before stabbing him 23 times on the head and body.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Burns was jailed for a minimum of 15 years and nine months. Holland was told he must serve at least 14 years.

In September, both men pleaded guilty to murder at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard how Downie had walked free in February last year having been accused of assaulting Burns' wife Michelle and his daughter Linsey.

John Scullion, prosecuting, said Burns, from East Kilbride, claimed he was going to attack Downie given the opportunity.

On 17 April this year, Linsey Burns spotted Downie in Hamilton and called her father, who told her: "We'll be up."

When he and Holland arrived, both of them armed, Miss Burns told them Downie was in woodland in the town's Udston Road.

The court heard they then confronted Downie, who was sitting with a group of youths.

Holland, from Hamilton, pulled out a knife before Downie raced off as the pair gave chase.

He tried to escape into a nearby garden, but fell when he got his foot stuck in a fence.

Burns and Holland caught up and then repeatedly struck Downie with the blades in a "chopping motion".

Downie was flung against the fence as he pleaded: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry".

Burns and Holland continued the attack before leaving in Linsey Burns' friend's car.

Fatal wound

Witnesses dialled 999 and paramedics treated Downie, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The court was told that he suffered at least 23 stab wounds, including a fatal one to the heart.

Police later spoke to Miss Burns and her friend, who implicated the accused in the attack.

Downie had an extensive criminal record, including offences for assault, robbery, drugs and theft.

The heroin addict was jailed for three years in 2007 for assault and robbery on a student.

Passing sentence on Burns and Holland, Lord Tyre said the attack had been of a "frenzied nature".

"The attack which you carried out was quite horrific in its relentless and remorseless violence," he said.

"You chased Mr Downie through a residential area of Hamilton until you cornered him in a garden.

"You then, according to the forensic evidence, inflicted a total of 23 stab wounds to his head, body and arms, one of which penetrated his heart and resulted in his death shortly afterwards."

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