Glasgow & West Scotland

Crawford and McDevitt jailed for Michael Herbison murder

Michael Herbison
Image caption Michael Herbison's body was recovered from the River Leven at Renton

Two men have been jailed for life for murdering their friend and dumping his body in a river in West Dunbartonshire.

Stephen Crawford, 24, and Darren McDevitt, 20, stabbed Michael Herbison and shot him with an air rifle during the attack in Renton on 29 August 2011.

The 35-year-old's body was recovered from the River Leven, near the town's Dalquhurn Estate, the following day.

Crawford and McDevitt, who were found guilty last month, were told they must serve a minimum of 18 years in jail.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Judge Lord Matthews told the pair, who are from Dumbarton: "This was a callous and brutal way to treat another human being."

Shoot rats

During their trial, the court heard that Mr Herbison had attended a party with Crawford and McDevitt in Tontine Park on the night he was murdered.

After 21:00, Mr Herbison left to buy alcohol and cigarettes and told a friend he was then going to meet Crawford at the Polaroid bridge on the river towpath at Renton.

Crawford and McDevitt were seen leaving the party after Mr Herbison.

They had an air rifle with them and said they were going to shoot rats down by the river.

The jury accepted the Crown's case that during the subsequent meeting, both accused attacked and killed Mr Herbison, with no reason given for the incident.

The court was told that the pair repeatedly stabbed Mr Herbison and shot him on the right buttock with an air rifle.

The fatal stab wound cut the two main blood vessels in the abdomen.

'We've done him'

As Mr Herbison lay dying, the pair stripped off his clothing and threw his body into the river, from where it was recovered by police divers the following day.

The trial heard that even while police were treating the case as that of a missing person both men made up false alibis for the night of the murder.

After the killing McDevitt was heard to say: "We've done him."

Forensic analysis of Crawford's shoes revealed spots of Mr Herbison's blood on them.

It emerged after the convictions that McDevitt had a previous High Court conviction for assault when he was a teenager.

Lord Matthews said the evidence at the trial had been "circumstantial" and that only those present knew what "triggered" events.

The judge added Mr Herbison was attacked and then "cast unceremoniously" into the river.

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