Neomi Smith: Keith Rizzo found guilty of girlfriend's 'vile and brutal' murder

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Keith RizzoImage source, Paul Reid
Image caption,
Keith Rizzo had denied murdering Ms Smith at her home in Brechin

A 23-year-old man has been found guilty of the "vile and brutal" murder of his girlfriend in her Brechin home.

Keith Rizzo choked and stabbed Neomi Smith before going on to claim that two other men had killed the 23-year-old.

A jury heard that Ms Smith, who was originally from Aberdeen, sustained dozens of stab and blunt trauma wounds in the attack last June.

Rizzo was told by judge Lady Rae to expect a "significant" sentence at his next court appearance on 6 April.

After the verdict, it emerged that Rizzo had a previous conviction for domestic abuse against a former partner.

Image source, Police Scotland/BBC
Image caption,
The trial was told that a neighbour had tried to save Neomi Smith's life

The High Court in Glasgow was told Rizzo and Ms Smith, who was a care worker, first got together earlier in 2019.

Jurors heard how Rizzo was violent to his girlfriend early in the relationship.

The trial was told that a neighbour who tried to save Ms Smith's life described a "scene of carnage" in the flat.

Stephen Alexander said it looked as if "a battle had taken place."

He told the jury: "There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.

"There was a knife at Neomi's left leg. She was lying on her front between the fridge and the tumble dryer."

'Abused her'

Rizzo's mother told the trial that her son had claimed to her that two men had stabbed Ms Smith, before wiping the knife on Rizzo's jeans.

Earlier, the court heard that Ms Smith was too scared to leave her boyfriend.

Her friend Kayleigh Cameron told the court her "upset" friend claimed Mr Rizzo had been "belittling" her.

Miss Cameron said: "She confided in me that he had abused her - that he had hit her before.

"She was scared and wanted to go home, but if she left him, he would hit her again as he had not hesitated to do it before."

Police Scotland welcomed the conviction.

Det Insp Ross Fitzgerald said: "Our thoughts are still very much with Neomi's family and friends during what is a really difficult time for them. The loss of their daughter, sister and friend has been agonising for them.

"This conviction will not in any way compensate for their loss, but Rizzo will now have to face the consequences for his horrific actions."