Glasgow & West Scotland

Scott Agnew guilty of screwdriver murder over 'drug debt'

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Image caption Stewart Rexter was found with head injuries in Airdrie on 3 November and died in hospital two days later

A man who stabbed a former workmate in the head over an alleged drug debt "hunted" him down with the intention of murdering him, a court has heard.

Scott Agnew was heard threatening to stab Stewart Rexter before the attack because he had failed to repay the £400 he had owed for five months.

Mr Rexter, 38, was found with head injuries in Airdrie on 3 November and died in hospital two days later.

A jury found Agnew, 29, guilty of murder.

The High Court in Livingston heard that Agnew's friends had called him when they spotted Mr Rexter - known as Chico - in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, at about 17:00 on 3 November.

He told them to follow his intended victim until he could get there and, after he caught up with them, accelerated towards Mr Rexter, braked to a halt beside him and jumped out of his BMW X5 to launch a surprise attack.

He grabbed the 38-year-old by the clothing and punched him repeatedly before stabbing him once in the head with a six-inch screwdriver bit.

'Normal' screwdriver

The jury watched dramatic footage of the attack, captured on CCTV cameras at private houses in Victoria Place, Airdrie.

They also heard from Agnew's girlfriend Lisa Armstrong, 26, who was in the car with him saw the two men fighting.

She gave evidence that Agnew then told her he'd "just stabbed Chico".

"He brought out a screwdriver and chucked it out the car window onto the grass verge. I only seen the silver bit of it.

"It was just a normal size screwdriver," she added.

The jury heard that Mr Rexter suffered a two-inch deep wound in his right temple which pierced his skull and caused internal bleeding and "irreversible" brain damage.

'In anger'

In his closing speech, advocate depute David Taylor said the evidence told a story "of the hunter and the hunted, the predator and the prey".

He told the jury: "He [Mr Rexter] knew that he was hunted, he knew that he was prey, he knew that his £400 from the summer had not gone away.

"Scott Agnew was there in anger, intent on finding Stewart Rexter, intent on punishing him for his failure to pay debt, intent on assaulting him and intent - on the evidence of Lisa Armstrong - on stabbing him."

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Agnew admitted he had been "an angry man" but claimed he'd acted in self-defence.

Michael Murphy, defending, said the weapon had appeared in Mr Rexter's hand.

Drugs offences

He added: "It's certainly not a very good way to get your money back by bumping off the person who owes you.

"And would you do it on a busy street where not only are your workmates down the road, your girlfriend's in the car and traffic at five o'clock rush hour is passing by?"

But the jury rejected Agnew's defence and took less than three hours to return a unanimous verdict finding Agnew guilty of murder.

Following the verdict, it was disclosed that Agnew had four previous convictions for drugs offences, three for cocaine and one for cannabis.

Judge Lord Clark called for background reports and told the father-of-one he would determine the punishment part of his life sentence, to be served before qualifying for parole, at Edinburgh High Court on 15 August.

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