NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Ismail Burnett admits knife murder of James Bruce in Boddam

Ismail Burnett
Image caption Ismail Burnett changed his plea to guilty to murder

A man has admitted murdering a father-of-two in an Aberdeenshire town.

James Bruce, 40, from the Peterhead area, died in hospital after an incident in Boddam in October 2010.

Ismail Burnett, 39, had gone on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen on Tuesday charged with repeatedly striking Mr Bruce on the body with a knife.

Burnett changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday afternoon. Sentence was deferred until Thursday.

During the trial, marine engineer Mr Bruce's son, Shaun, 20, had broken down as he gave evidence.

He told the jury he had tried to help his father when he found him injured in a blood-soaked top on a street near his home.

After the plea, Mr Bruce's daughter Stephanie, 21, said of her father: "He was really upbeat all the time.

Image caption James Bruce died after the stabbing in Boddam in 2010

"He tried to help everybody he could. He would protect you if anything happened.

"It's the worst feeling in the world. I'm always going to be known as 'the girl whose dad was murdered'."

Grampian Police Det Supt Malcolm Stewart, who led the inquiry, said: "Burnett carried out a violent and sustained attack on James Bruce at a time when numerous members of the public, including young children who were out trick or treating, were in the area.

"He has shown little remorse for his actions on that night, which ultimately robbed two people of their father.

"This conviction will not fill the void that has been left in their lives, but it may allow them to move forward after what has been a particularly traumatic experience.

"Our thoughts are with James Bruce's family at this difficult time."

Burnett faced a further two charges of being in possession of heroin and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of the knife.

His not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown.

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