James Smith was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of killing his brother-in-law, Alexander Cameron, and burying him under manure in a shallow grave at a West Cairns farm.
The High Court in Edinburgh ordered ‘Jimmy’ Smith, 58, to serve a minimum of 17 years in prison for the murder of his brother-in-law, a known criminal.
Said the judge, “This was a dreadful way to treat a fellow human being,” after the court heard that Smith bludgeoned Cameron to death by hitting him on the head with a fencing hammer and an axe, before he “hogtied his body and then, using a mechanical digger,” buried him in a shallow grave “amongst a collection of debris.”
Smith had previously admitted responsibility for the death of Cameron, 67, but claimed during the trial that he was not guilty of murder having acted in self-defence. He claims that threats had been made by the victim to shoot his wife, Helen.
He also claimed that he believed Cameron was going to kill him after running at him, so he grabbed “two large hammers”, which he used to hit his victim on the head.
Cameron is a known criminal and had previously served a six year sentence for cultivating cannabis on his farm and under a crime profits confiscation order was ordered to pay over £525,000.
He was described by a family member speaking to the media after the trial as, “… a much-loved father, grandfather, brother, family member and friend to many.”
The court also heard of Smith’s anguish at having to put his pet donkey down in the days following the killing of Cameron. When asked whether he was more concerned about the death of his donkey or his victim, Smith tearfully told the court, “I loved that wee donkey.”