South Scotland

Pair convicted of murdering neighbour in Hawick

Aleksandr Podgornoi (left) and Vladimir Jakovlev
Image caption Aleksandr Podgornoi and Vladimir Jakovlev had claimed self-defence at their trial

Two men have been found guilty of murdering a 45-year-old neighbour in the Scottish Borders earlier this year.

Christopher McColm was beaten to death in his own home in Beattie Court, Hawick, in April.

Aleksandr Podgornoi, 25, and Vladimir Jakovlev, 24, were convicted of his murder after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Both men stayed in the same block of flats as their victim and had been drinking heavily before the attack.

A witness during the trial said he heard two Eastern European voices arguing with Mr McColm in his home and later saw two men leave the flat, laughing and joking in their own language.

The trial also heard that social workers were trying rehouse Mr McColm shortly before he was murdered after he reported having problems with neighbours.

'Covered in blood'

Police officers later found Mr McColm "covered in blood" after suffering multiple injuries to the head and body.

Image caption Police found Mr McColm covered in blood in his home earlier this year

He was rushed to hospital for treatment but died the following day.

Det Insp Jim Robertson, who led the police investigation for Lothian and Borders Police, said: "Both Podgornoi and Jakovlev are callous individuals who carried out a sustained and extremely violent attack on a frail individual who had little chance of defending himself.

"I am satisfied with today's guilty verdict, which reflects the overwhelming evidence against both men, and it's my sincere hope that Christopher's family can take some comfort from the outcome at court today."

Both men had denied murdering Mr McColm, claiming self-defence.

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