Glasgow & West Scotland

Man guilty of acid attack on journalist

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

William Burns, 56, threw sulphuric acid into Russell Findlay's face after turning up at his door disguised as a postman on 23 December 2015.

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

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.

The court was told about his extensive criminal record, including convictions for assault, firearms and carrying offensive weapons.

'Photo threat'

Burns, from Paisley, was convicted of assaulting Mr Findlay, 44, to the danger of his life by throwing sulphuric acid in his face.

He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced next month.

A not proven verdict was returned on Burns' co-accused Alexander Porter, 48, who had faced the same charge.

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.

Burns claimed Mr Findlay had threatened to show his wife a 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.

'Very wrong'

Prosecutor Richard Goddard described Burns' evidence as "improbable, bizarre and absurd".

A jury had heard how Mr Findlay had answered his door and was told he had to sign for a parcel.

He was handed a card to sign, then acid was thrown in his face.

The journalist said: "I felt liquid on my face. Something very wrong had happened. He came at me in the hall. I knew I was being attacked."

He wrestled Burns out of the house, held on to him and yelled for help.

After the verdict, Mr Findlay described Burns as a coward and said the verdict was "long overdue".

Organised crime

He said Burns was "paid a significant sum of money" to go to his home.

"He threw sulphuric acid in my face and attempted to stab me on the orders of a major organised criminal who is in prison for another matter," he said.

"This man should be held to account."

Det Sgt Craig Warren, who led the investigation, said Burns had been known to have links to serious organised crime in Glasgow.

He said: "William Burns is a career criminal and he does not care about anyone other than himself and his activities."

Burns and Mr Porter, also of Paisley, 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".

More on this story