Glasgow & West Scotland

Man convicted of Airdrie hammer attack murder

Malcolm McLaren Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Malcolm McLaren was left to die following the attack in Airdrie last September

A man has been convicted of murdering a 40-year-old father-of-four in a hammer attack at his home in Lanarkshire.

Gordon McCrone, 46, hit Malcolm McLaren over the head more than 13 times at a property in Clark Street in Airdrie in September last year.

The High Court in Glasgow heard he then tried to cover up the murder by sending texts to Mr McLaren.

He faces a life sentence and will return to court in August to hear the minimum terms.

At that hearing the judge will determine how many years he should spend in prison before being eligible for parole.

The court heard McCrone shattered Mt McLaren's skull and broke his ribs in the attack on 27 September 2016, then left him for dead.

A text later sent by McCrone to the victim's phone said: "What are you up to Malky. My son and aunt say there is police tape everywhere, r u home, everything OK?"

He also disposed of the bloodstained clothes he wore during the assault.

'Horror scene'

McCrone said in court: "I was trying to beat the system. When I looked at the living room it was a horror scene. I didn't want to admit what I had done."

He claimed he was acting in self defence and told the jury that Mr McLaren had attacked him with a hammer and he had managed to grab it away from him.

He added: "I believe I did overreact and possibly hit him more than I should have. I was wildly swinging the hammer with my right hand. I'm left handed. If I had been using my left hand I could have possibly knocked him out with one or two blows."

The court also heard McCrone confessed to his ex-wife Linda Rodger in a letter written from prison that he had killed Mr McLaren, but claimed that he had acted in self-defence.

In the letter he said: "My temper got the better of me. But he tried to stop me calling the police by hitting me with the hammer first and paid the price. Believe me I am not proud of what I did, it will be in the hands of a jury."

Outside the court, Mr McLaren's sister Marie McLaren, 50, from West Lothian, said: "Nothing will take the pain away of losing Malcolm. What happened to him with that hammer will torture me for life."

Her daughter Kerry McLaren, 26, added: "How another human being could do that to someone is beyond me. When he gave evidence he had the opportunity to say sorry to us, but he never did it. He showed no emotion."

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