Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Life for Fife teenager who killed disabled neighbour

Sonny Dear was found guilty of murdering Brian Johnstone
Image caption Sonny Dear will have to serve at least 16 years before he can be released

A teenager has been sentenced to life for murdering a disabled neighbour who was stabbed to death in front of his wife outside his home in Fife.

Sonny Dear, 18, will serve a minimum of 16 years before he becomes eligible for release from jail for stabbing Brian Johnstone, 48, to death in March 2009.

He was sentenced for the Glenrothes murder at the High Court in Aberdeen.

He had denied murder and, at a trial at the High Court in Dundee, claimed he acted in self defence.

The court had heard how Dear's mother had become involved in a row with her neighbour, Mr Johnstone, who had Huntington's disease, after she arrived home drunk from a funeral.

The court heard how Mr Johnstone began throwing bricks at her, so Dear ran inside to get his baseball bat but instead returned with a knife before stabbing Mr Johnstone in the back.

Lord Kinclaven said: "Mr Johnstone died as a result of two stab wounds to the back. The result was a tragedy.

"The fact remains you have been convicted of the most serious crime. Your intoxication was no excuse.

"The court requires to act in a way which discourages violence with knives."

Defence lawyer Mark Stewart said his client had initially acted as a peacemaker during the argument but had returned to his house and picked up the knife.

He said: "Sonny Dear had no role in provoking the events in the street that led to the events of the evening.

"It is regrettable that the first act of violence that occurred came from the deceased on the path throwing bricks and boulders at the group."

He said his client had hoped to "dissuade further violence" by taking out his baseball bat but couldn't find it and instead grabbed a knife.

The court heard earlier that the knife was used with such force that it cut through the bone causing fatal injuries.

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