Neomi Smith: Keith Rizzo jailed for girlfriend's 'savage' murder

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image copyrightPaul Reid
image captionKeith Rizzo was described by a judge as "a jealous and possessive young man"

A man has been jailed for at least 22 years for the "vile and brutal" murder of his girlfriend in her Brechin home.

Keith Rizzo, 23, choked and stabbed Neomi Smith before going on to claim that two other men had killed her.

A jury heard that Ms Smith, 23, who was originally from Aberdeen, sustained dozens of stab and blunt trauma wounds in the attack last June.

Judge Lady Rae called Rizzo, who appeared via video-link from prison, a "jealous and possessive young man".

She said: "What is now known is that you carried out a savage, vicious and prolonged attack on a defenceless young woman in the kitchen of the flat you shared with her."

Lady Rae described Rizzo's version of events as a "most fanciful account".

image copyrightPolice Scotland/BBC
image captionThe trial was told that a neighbour had tried to save Neomi Smith's life

After the jury's verdict last month, it emerged that Rizzo had a previous conviction for domestic abuse against a former partner.

The High Court in Glasgow was told Rizzo and Ms Smith, who was a care worker, first got together earlier in 2019.

Jurors heard how Rizzo was violent to his girlfriend early in the relationship.

The trial was told that a neighbour who tried to save Ms Smith's life described a "scene of carnage" in the flat.

Stephen Alexander said it looked as if "a battle had taken place."

He told the jury: "There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.

"There was a knife at Neomi's left leg. She was lying on her front between the fridge and the tumble dryer."

'Too scared'

Rizzo's mother told the trial that her son had claimed to her that two men had stabbed Ms Smith, before wiping the knife on Rizzo's jeans.

Earlier, the court heard that Ms Smith was too scared to leave her boyfriend.

Her friend Kayleigh Cameron told the court her "upset" friend claimed Mr Rizzo had been "belittling" her.

Miss Cameron said: "She confided in me that he had abused her - that he had hit her before.

"She was scared and wanted to go home, but if she left him, he would hit her again as he had not hesitated to do it before."

Donald Findlay QC, defending, told the sentencing hearing: "He does not accept playing any part in the death of this young lady."

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