NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Drug-binge man who murdered stranger in his own home jailed

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Media captionCCTV shows Liam Hay approaching Mr McGladrigan's house

A man who murdered an innocent father-of-two after he helped a stranger hide in his home to avoid being attacked has been jailed for at least 19 years.

Liam Hay was on a five-day drugs binge when he killed 51-year-old Anthony McGladrigan in Cuminestown, Aberdeenshire, last June.

Mr McGladrigan had let one of Hay's friends take refuge in his home because he was being chased by the 20-year-old.

But Hay forced his way into the house and stabbed Mr McGladrigan nine times.

The farm worker was given a life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow after admitting murder.

The judge, Lady Stacey, described the killing as "shocking" and "incredible".

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Anthony McGladrigan was murdered in his own home

She said: "Mr McGladrigan was the sort of person who tried to help others, if he could.

"He let your friend in and, in so doing, he ended up losing his life, as you followed.

"By your actions, you have deprived Mr McGladrigan's family. He was a man who had much to offer."

'Increasingly strange'

Relatives said Mr McGladrigan would put his needs aside to help anyone - and it was "beyond tragic" that this had led to his death.

The victim's wife, Fiona, tried to save her husband, but he later died in hospital.

The court previously heard how farm worker Hay and friends had been bingeing on drink and drugs at various places between 21 June and 26 June - the day of the killing.

They had taken cocaine and the stimulant M-Cat. Hay was described as "tripping", with his behaviour "increasingly strange".

Early on the morning of the murder, Hay's friend Austen Smith tried to wake him. He got up, but grabbed a baseball bat and said he "wanted a word" with him.

Mr Smith immediately ran out of the house as Hay shouted threats at him, and eventually banged on the door of the McGladrigan family.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Hay was photographed partying with his friends in the hours before the murder

Mr McGladrigan - who worked at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Aberdeen - had been in bed with his wife, shortly after finishing a shift.

He let Mr Smith in and allowed him to hide in the bathroom, while shouting to his wife: "Stay in the room. He says he is being chased by someone with a bat."

However, bare-footed Hay tried to open the door to the house.

Mr McGladrigan said to him: "No, I am not letting you in. Calm down - put the baseball bat down."

Hay instead used the weapon to smash glass and force his way in. It is not known exactly what happened, but Hay appeared to have grabbed a knife from the victim's home.

Mr McGladrigan shouted: "Oh my God, are you crazy? I have been stabbed."

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Hay smashed his way into the house

His wife dialled 999 as her husband slumped to the floor. Hay remained at the house - still holding the murder weapon - until police arrived.

Mr McGladrigan later died due to multiple stab wounds to the back and chest.

When Hay was asked his name by police, he replied: "Lewis Capaldi".

'So proud of him'

He went on to claim he had sobered up, but could not remember anything. On initially being charged, he said: "What? No way. Honestly?"

Defence counsel Ian Duguid said: "His perception of what took place around him that night is entirely divorced from reality."

Relatives of Mr McGladrigan said in a statement: "We would like to thank you for the outpouring of love, support and kind words about Anthony - reading these comments have been a huge comfort to us all and we are all very grateful for them.

"In the darkness of our grief they are the light at the end of our tunnel.

"It is quite overwhelming realising just how much Anthony affected everyone who met him; his pure, infectious love of life and laughter inspired us all - it's wonderful to know that we weren't the only ones.

"As a family we are so proud of him. He would do anything for you and would put his needs aside to help anyone; it is beyond tragic that this led to his death."

David Green, procurator fiscal for major crime and homicide, said: "Liam Hay carried out a violent, unprovoked attack on a complete stranger in his own home.

"Anthony McGladrigan was an innocent man who had given refuge to someone who asked for help and his family have been left devastated by his death."

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