Glasgow & West Scotland

Man jailed for journalist acid attack in Glasgow

William Burns
Image caption William Burns was convicted of assaulting the journalist to the danger of his life

A man found guilty of an acid attack on a journalist at his home in Glasgow's west end has been jailed.

William Burns, 56, threw sulphuric acid into Russell Findlay's face while disguised as a postman on the doorstep of his home in December 2015.

Burns denied the charge, but was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was given a 15-year sentence at the High Court in Aberdeen, with 10 years in custody and supervision for five years after his release.

The attack took place months after Burns had been freed early from a 15-year jail term for shooting a woman during a post office robbery in 2001.

Burns, from Paisley, was convicted of assaulting Mr Findlay, 44, to the danger of his life.

He threw sulphuric acid on Mr Findlay's face before knocking the crime reporter to the ground.

During the trial, Burns said he had only turned up at Mr Findlay's door to "beat up" the journalist, who was investigative editor of the Scottish Sun at the time.

He claimed the journalist had told him he had a compromising photo of him with a young blonde woman.

He went on to suggest the journalist - who has also written books on gangland crime - must have thrown a corrosive substance in his own face.

'Essential tool'

Sentencing, Lord Matthews said: "You have been convicted of a vicious, premeditated attack by the throwing of sulphuric acid into the face of a journalist on the threshold of his own home two days before Christmas.

"You were caught virtually red-handed and your own evidence was an obvious fabrication from start to finish, plainly being made up as you were going along.

"Leaving aside your own explanation why you were there, the only reason I can discern for your actions is that you objected to something that your victim wrote.

"There are ways and means of dealing with grievances, real or imagined, against the media and this was plainly not one of them."

The judge added: "The freedom of the press is an essential tool in the armoury of any democracy and attacks of this nature will not be tolerated.

"You have a bad record and are clearly a dangerous man."

Burns and a co-accused had also been accused of attempting to murder Ross Sherlock in a shooting near St Helen's primary school in Bishopbriggs in September 2015.

They were cleared of that charge after Judge Lord Matthews ruled there was "insufficient evidence".

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