Man jailed for life for Airdrie hammer attack murder

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Gordon McCroneImage source, Spindrift
Image caption,
Gordon McCrone repeatedly hit his victim with a claw hammer before leaving him for dead

A man who murdered his live-in landlord in a hammer attack has been jailed for at least 20 years.

Gordon McCrone, 46, hit Malcolm McLaren, 40, over the head more than 13 times at a property in Clark Street in Airdrie in September last year.

Mr McLaren had taken McCrone in as a lodger after he lost his job and his marriage broke up.

At the High Court in Glasgow, McCrone claimed he acted in self-defence, but the jury rejected this.

Judge Lord Arthurson jailed McCrone for life, describing the murder as "brutal and savage".

During the trial, the court heard McCrone used a claw hammer to hit Mr McLaren's head. He also smashed four of his ribs, before leaving him for dead in his living room.

The jury was told McCrone was angry because he believed Mr McLaren was stealing his underwear and socks.

He then snapped when he thought Mr McLaren had taken his laptop and jewellery belonging his his late father.

After the attack, he attempted to cover his tracks by disposing of the bloodstained hoodie and shoes he was wearing.

He also sent text messages to Mr McLaren's phone even though he knew he was lying dead on the sofa.

Image source, Police Scotland
Image caption,
Malcolm McLaren was left to die following the attack in Airdrie last September

The last text he sent said: "What are you up to Malky. My son and aunt say there is police tape everywhere, r u home, everything OK?"

During the trial, when asked why he disposed of bloodstained clothing and sent texts, McCrone had said: "I was trying to beat the system.

"When I looked at the living room, it was a horror scene. I didn't want to admit what I had done."

McCrone had told the jury that Malcolm attacked him with a hammer and he managed to grab it away from him.

He said they began arguing and added: "He was constantly stealing from me."

He confessed to his ex-wife Linda Rodger in a letter written from prison, saying his temper had "got the better of me" and he was "not proud" of what he did.

His defence QC Ian Duguid previously said: "Prior to this incident, Mr McCrone only had a driving conviction and no history or violence.

"The accused believed Mr McCrone had started to steal his possessions."

Judge Lord Arthurson described the victim as a loving, caring brother, father and uncle, whose death had affected the family profoundly.

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