Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Man jailed for killing former best friend in Edinburgh

Kieran Davies (L) had denied murdering Ashley Hawkins (R) Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Kieran Davies (l) had denied murdering Ashley Hawkins (r)

A man who bludgeoned his former best friend to death at a flat in Edinburgh has been jailed for life.

Kieran Davies will serve at least 19 years before being eligible for parole.

He was earlier found guilty of attacking Ashley Hawkins with a hammer and a metal bar during the murder in Scotland Street in December last year.

Davies and Mr Hawkins had arrived in the city from Wales as friends but before the attack the victim said Davies had held a knife to his throat.

Addressing Davies, 28, at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Boyd said: "You have been convicted on the clearest evidence of a particularly brutal murder.

"You continue to deny your guilt and you have shown little remorse."

The judge acknowledged that Davies had a difficult upbringing and told him: "You have not had the chances in life that may have set you on a different path."

But he added: "None of that excuses or mitigates the dreadful nature of this offence."

Davies had denied murdering Mr Hawkins on 2 December. After he was found guilty of the crime he told security staff to take him down to the cells as the judge addressed him and accused the prosecutor of framing him.

The final stage of the trial took place in the murderer's absence as Lord Boyd told jurors: "Murder cases are always difficult. They are emotionally draining for everybody involved in it."

Police were called to the flat in the early hours of the morning after neighbours heard banging and shouting coming from inside.

Saturated with blood

One witness said he was aware of 15 to 20 bangs and screams which had stopped by the end of the disturbance.

Police found Mr Hawkins, 32, from Barry, South Wales, dead in the flat with catastrophic head injuries.

Unemployed Davies was the only other occupant in the locked property and was found topless, wearing jogging bottoms and trainers which were extensively stained with Mr Hawkins' blood.

A Reebok top, which Davies had earlier been seen wearing, was found in a washing machine, saturated with the victim's blood, along with brain tissue.

The court heard Mr Hawkins had suffered at least 24 blows to the head, and a metal pole and broken hammer recovered from the flat could have been used as weapons in the attack.

Davies, a prisoner in Edinburgh, had also repeatedly stamped and kicked him on the head and body.

'Does not remember'

Prosecutor David Taylor had told jurors: "When police came into that locked flat there were two people there _ one alive, covered in blood and one dead, violently murdered. There is no mystery in this case."

Davies told police that he had taken valium and claimed that he also taken heroin and ecstasy. A blood test later proved negative for ecstasy and opiate drugs but gave an indication that he had taken diazepam and cannabis.

Davies claimed he was unconscious at the time of the killing.

Defence counsel Keith Stewart QC, said: "He maintains his position that he does not remember anything that happened in the flat."

He asked the judge to deal with Davies on the basis that the murder was not a premeditated crime.

He earlier told the court that previously consideration had been given to Davies' fitness to stand trial and a psychiatrist who had seen him reported that he suffered from a delusional disorder.

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