Fifty-eight-year-old builder, Jimmy Smith, has been found guilty for the brutal murder of his brother-in-law, Alex Cameron.
Smith claimed that his brother-in-law attacked him and threatened to shoot Helen Smith, his wife, who is also 58. For that reason, he insisted that he had acted in self-defence when he killed Cameron with an axe and fencing mallet and proceeded to conceal the body under a pile of horse manure.
Smith hoped to obtain a charge of culpable homicide. However, a jury in the High Court at Livingston reached a majority verdict and found him guilty of the greater crime of murder. They also found him guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, since he concealed the body and told the police that he did not know where Cameron was after he had been reported missing.
Judge Lord Matthews oversaw the trial and informed Smith that he would be sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the minimum sentence is yet to be determined. It will be announced on 4 August at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The family expressed gratitude to the jury for what they referred to as a “true and lawful verdict”.
Ronnie Mill—spokesman for the family—also delivered a statement:
“Alex was a much-loved father, grandfather, brother, family member and friend to many. He is, and always will be, sorely missed by all who knew him. James Smith is a coward and a callous, evil, cunning and manipulative person who showed more compassion during evidence for a farmyard animal than he did for a human being.”
Mr. Cameron was 67 years old when Smith attacked him with the fencing hammer and log-splitting axe. He suffered a broken neck, multiple skull fractures and several broken bones.