22-Year Jail Term For 'Cold-Blooded' Murder

17 October 2017, 15:27 | Updated: 17 October 2017, 15:29

High Court in Glasgow

A man has been jailed for more than 22 years over a "cold-blooded" murder he committed while on bail.

Robert Letham stabbed Steven Russell to death in Possilpark, Glasgow, in February.

He had arranged to meet his 20-year-old victim to pay a drug debt, the Crown Office said, and then fled Scotland in the days after the killing.

Letham was eventually arrested in Bridgwater, Somerset, when he tried to collect benefits from a local DWP office.

Prosecutors said the 32-year-old carried out the assault in front of a number of witnesses and inflicted the fatal wound with a knife he had hidden up his sleeve.

After being found guilty of murder, assault and attempting to defeat the ends of justice, Letham was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 22 years and three months at the High Court in Glasgow.

Judge Lady Rae said the killer has "no regard whatsoever" for bail orders having a record of 46 previous convictions, many committed while on bail for other offences.

The judge said: "You have been found guilty by the jury of what has been described as a cold-blooded, premeditated murder of a young man.

"This was a vicious, senseless attack on a 20-year-old man.

"Not satisfied with fatally stabbing Steven Russell, you then chased him until he collapsed and assaulted another young man by attempting to strike him with the same knife you used on Mr Russell.

"Thereafter you disposed of evidence and travelled out of this jurisdiction to avoid facing up to what you had done.

"You have an unenviable schedule of previous convictions. There are 46 separate convictions representing 76 separate offences.

"Significantly, several involve violence and at least four involve the possession of sharp weapons.

"Thirty-nine of your offences were committed while you were on bail and that is significant when one considers that the crimes I have to deal with were committed while you were on two separate bail orders.

"It is obvious you have no regard whatsoever for the conditions of bail orders.

"In respect of the murder charge, there is only one sentence which I can impose and that is life imprisonment."

Nicky Patrick, procurator fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: "Robert Letham chose to take a knife with him onto the street with the intention of doing serious harm and ended up taking a life.

"Showing no remorse for his actions, he then left the country and tried to escape justice.

"The use of blades as weapons is completely unacceptable, leading inevitably to tragic deaths and ruined lives.

"We will continue to do our utmost to prosecute those who are responsible for violence and knife crime."