Glasgow & West Scotland

James Morley jailed for killing partner in Newmilns

police in Loudoun Road Image copyright Guy Hinks
Image caption The body of 46-year-old Elaine Duncan was found at her flat in Newmilns

A man who murdered his partner by repeatedly striking her with a cooking pot and knife has been jailed for life.

James Morley, 42, had eight previous domestic abuse convictions for attacking Elaine Duncan, 46, when he killed her.

He attacked her at their home in Newmilns, East Ayrshire, in April 2014.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lady Scott sentenced Morley to serve at least 20 years in prison before he can apply for parole.

The court heard how Morley targeted Ms Duncan four days after he was released from prison.

He was in jail for breaching court orders which had been passed to protect her.

When he left prison, he went on an alcohol binge. He attacked Ms Duncan and left her body in the living room before visiting a local pub.

The court heard Morley repeatedly struck Ms Duncan with a cooking pot.

When she fell to the ground, Morley climbed on top of Ms Duncan and slashed her throat up to 20 times.

'Utterly savage'

Lady Scott told Morley: "The violence of your attack was utterly savage. You struck your victim with such force as to cause significant bruising and a groove within her skull.

"Then, after she fell backwards, you knelt on top of her and cut her throat repeatedly according to the pathologist up to 20 times.

"In so doing you cut through the major muscles, larynx, thyroid bone and jugular vein.

"You committed this murder within four days of being released on licence for breach of court orders relating to the victim. You have left her son and family devastated."

Morley was convicted last month following a trial at the High Court in Paisley.

During his trial, the court heard Morley phoned 999 to tell officers he thought he had killed Ms Duncan. He gave operators the wrong address, prompting a frantic search for his victim.

When asked later where she was, he said: "Hanging off a leather couch in the living room."

Morley, who had been in a relationship with Ms Duncan for eight years, admitted culpable homicide but prosecutors refused to accept his guilty plea.

He denied murdering Ms Duncan, claiming he lashed out and killed her in a fit of rage during an argument.

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