Kil­ler­gets lifeover ‘best­pal’ mur­der

Hamilton Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Court re­porter

A bru­tal killer who mur­dered his“best pal”has been sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment.

Gary Smith (24) was or­dered to serve at least 20 years in jail at the High Court in Ed­in­burgh this week af­ter killing Joseph Mcmen­emy in Hamil­ton last Novem­ber.

On Mon­day, judge Tom Hughes QC told Smith:“you have caused ex­treme dis­tress to his friends and fam­ily.”

Smith ear­lier pled guilty to mur­der­ing Mr Mcmen­emy by re­peat­edly strik­ing him on the head, neck and body with a knife.

Some of the wounds had cut into bone, the spine and pen­e­trated the skull.

A killer who bru­tally mur­dered his “best pal” in a sav­age knife at­tack was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment this week.

Gary Smith was or­dered to serve at least 20 years in jail for the mur­der of Joseph Mcmen­emy at his home in Don­ald­son Street, Hamil­ton.

A judge told Smith (24) that it was “a tragedy” that Mr Mcmen­emy had died at the age of 27.

Judge Tom Hughes QC said: “He had a promis­ing fu­ture to look for­ward to.”

On Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 9, he told Smith at the High Court in Ed­in­burgh: “You have caused ex­treme dis­tress to his friends and fam­ily.”

The judge said Smith would not au­to­mat­i­cally be freed at the end of the 20-year min­i­mum term but it would be for the Pa­role Board to de­ter­mine when it is safe to re­lease him from pri­son.

Smith ear­lier pled guilty to mur­der­ing Mr Mcmen­emy on Novem­ber 15 last year by re­peat­edly strik­ing him on the head, neck and body with a knife.

He in­flicted at least 10 stab wounds to his vic­tim’s neck, dam­ag­ing jugu­lar veins and carotid ar­ter­ies re­sult­ing in mas­sive blood loss.

Smith also stabbed Mr Mcmen­emy four times to the chest and shoul­ders and wounded his face. One stab wound to the torso passed right through the vic­tim’s liver. Some of the knife wounds had cut into bone, the spine and pen­e­trated the skull.

Mr Mcmen­emy, who worked for a hos­pi­tal­ity agency, was also found to have de­fen­sive in­juries to his arms and hands.

Un­em­ployed Smith, of Spey Wynd, Larkhall, was ear­lier seen at an Aldi store in Hamil­ton with Mr Mcmen­emy, where they bought al­co­hol be­fore re­turn­ing to the vic­tim’s home.

Neigh­bours later heard males ar­gu­ing and the sound of dull groans com­ing from the prop­erty be­fore it all went quiet.

Smith later went to a neigh­bour’s home just be­fore mid­night and tapped a me­tal ob­ject on the glass panel of the door and said: “Joe needs help.” The neigh­bour made a 999 call to po­lice.

He also made a phone call to the emer­gency ser­vices and claimed that both he and the de­ceased had been at­tacked af­ter the door of Mr Mcmen­emy’s home was kicked in.

Po­lice ar­rived at the scene and Smith par­tially opened the door to them. Of­fi­cers could see his face and left arm were blood­stained but he claimed ev­ery­thing was al­right and said: “I’ve al­ready phoned an am­bu­lance.”

The court heard that Smith ap­peared re­laxed and was speak­ing co­her­ently. When of­fi­cers asked to get into the prop­erty he told them: “No, it’s okay.” When they asked if any­one else was there he replied: “Just ma pal.”

When po­lice got into the flat they saw a small knife with red stain­ing on the blade on a chair in the hall­way be­side Smith.

One of­fi­cer went fur­ther into the flat and found Mr Mcmen­emy ly­ing on his back, ob­vi­ously wounded with no signs of life and with a large blood stained knife rest­ing on his shoul­der.

Smith was asked who the in­jured man was and said: “It’s my mate Joe. He’s my best pal. He’s prac­ti­cally fam­ily.”

He claimed that in­trud­ers had burst in and held him down and al­leged it was over a drug debt, adding: “It was all my fault. Joe didn’t even know them.”

He said that the at­tack­ers had hit him on the head and he fell to the ground and “then they got Joe”.

While he was on a land­ing Smith had mo­tioned to bin bags and said: “I’ve chopped up a body and put it in that bag.” When an of­fi­cer went to in­ves­ti­gate he said: “I’m only jok­ing.”

De­fence coun­sel Tony Gra­ham QC said Smith had never given him any in­struc­tion as to why the of­fence was com­mit­ted.

He told the judge: “In sen­tenc­ing him, My Lord re­ally does have no in­sight as to how this came about.”

Mr Gra­ham said Smith had told him that “the first proper night’s sleep he man­aged to achieve was hav­ing ten­dered a plea of guilty to this charge”.

Tragedy Muder vic­tim Joseph Mcmen­emy

Tragic loss Vic­tim Joseph Mcmen­emy

Scene Po­lice at Don­ald­son Street last year

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