Tayside and Central Scotland

Arbroath man killed partner in their home

A victim of domestic abuse dialled 999 just hours before she was murdered by her partner, a court has heard.

Graham Buist hit Joanne Rennie on the head with a brick and also inflicted a single, fatal 17cm (7in) deep stab wound to her chest.

But officers who had earlier responded to the 999 call at her home found her calm and uninjured and so had left.

Buist, 30, admitted murdering Miss Rennie in Arbroath, Angus last year. He will be sentenced at a later date.

He told the police who interviewed him after the death that the loss of money had triggered a row between the couple and he "just lost the plot".

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the attack had taken place on 26 or 27 September last year. The couple had been in a relationship since about January 2009.

Advocate depute Richard Goddard said: "The relationship between the deceased and accused was a volatile one, which at times became violent."

The prosecutor said unemployed Buist had previously been convicted of offences, including assault, threats and vandalism.

He said: "Despite the obvious difficulties that existed it appears that the couple would reconcile soon after any disagreement."

On the evening of the murder a visitor to the flat had noticed that Buist was very drunk.

Miss Rennie, who was 4ft 10in, made a 999 seeking police help for "a domestic". But when officers arrived, her only complaint was that money had been lost in the house.

They spoke to both Miss Rennie, 35, and Buist and neither made a complaint against the other. After satisfying themselves that no domestic incident had occurred, the police officers left.

Cider claim

A neighbour was later wakened by the sounds of a woman screaming, and shouting "help me". The neighbour recognised the voice as Miss Rennie's, the court heard.

In the early hours of 27 September, Buist phoned the emergency services and told an operator: "I've murdered my partner." He said he had stabbed her and she was lying up against a cupboard door.

Police found him kneeling over his victim after forcing entry to the flat. Ambulance staff also arrived and Miss Rennie was pronounced dead shortly after 02:00.

Buist claimed to have drunk about nine litres of cider and taken tablets in the previous 24 hours.

Miss Rennie was found with facial bruising and a black eye. It was discovered that the knife wound to her chest had penetrated the sac surrounding the heart, sliced through a major vein and gone through a lung.

Lord Bannatyne deferred sentence on Buist when defence counsel Mark Stewart QC will make his plea in mitigation.

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