Men Jailed For Party Stabbing

Two teenagers who stabbed a young businessman to death at a party have been jailed.

Stuart McCulloch, 18, was today locked up for at least 13 years and five months after being convicted of murdering Sam Johnston.

Allan Carey, 19, was sentenced to three years after he was found guilty of culpable homicide.

The pair were back in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow following a trial last month.

Judge Bill Dunlop told McCulloch: "This is another senseless and tragic loss of life caused by the incomprehensible and casual indifference for the use of knives in the west of Scotland."

The judge told Carey - who had also faced a murder allegation - that the jury must have been satisfied he was involved in an attack, but that the part he played was "impossible to know".

The duo showed no emotion as they were led handcuffed to the cells.

The killing took place at a house party in Saltcoats, Ayrshire in October last year.

A number of friends at the bash desperately tried to save 22-year-old Mr Johnston's life, but he died from massive blood loss.

The young dad had set up his own firm - Johnston Processing - not long before his death.

McCulloch, also of Saltcoats, was the best friend of Mr Johnston's brother Ross.

The killer had recently returned from Romania where he had been carrying out charity work.

He
blamed 22 year-old Fergal Morgan for the stabbing. Morgan had also
been accused of murder before prosecutors withdrew the charge.

McCulloch claimed his DNA was on the murder weapon because Morgan handed it him and asked him to get rid of it.

But, in evidence, prosecutor Sheena Fraser put to McCulloch: "You are the one who put the knife in Mr Johnston's chest, aren't you?"

The killer replied: "I never did it."

McCulloch was asked why he never told Mr Johnston's brother Ross - his best friend since primary school - who had stabbed him.

Miss Fraser said: "You didn't tell him because it would have been too difficult to admit to your best friend you had murdered his brother."

McCulloch said: "That's wrong."

Morgan also gave evidence during the trial and denied being the killer, insisting McCulloch had told him he had carried out the stabbing.

McCulloch's QC Donald Findlay today said the teenager still protested his innocence.

Mr Findlay went on: "While he is affected by the death of Mr Johnston, his position is that due to a catastrophic error by the Crown, the killer was allowed to walk free."

Gordon Jackson QC, defending Carey, said the teenager had been attacked since being convicted.

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