Murdoch gets life for Anthony Laurie murder

The trial took place at the High Court in Edinburgh
The trial took place at the High Court in Edinburgh

A drug dealer has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering Anthony Laurie.

Stuart Murdoch, 25, murdered Anthony Laurie during a confrontation at a house in the Carbrain area of Cumbernauld on October 1, 2015.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Murdoch repeatedly stabbed 25-year-old Anthony after he tried to buy valium from him.

The pair had fallen out after Murdoch boasted about being a “hard man” from a “rough part of Glasgow”.

Anthony, known as Anton to his friends, went to the property with friend and former Strathclyde University student Daniel Kashani (28).

During the nine day trial Mr Kashani told jurors what he saw when his friend was attacked and died.

This afternoon (Thursday) jurors returned a guilty verdict to a charge of murder. Relatives of Anthony cheered the forewoman of the jury as she delivered the verdict.

The judge, Lord Drummond Young, said he had no option but to impose a life sentence. Murdoch will serve at least 16 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Lord Drummond Young told Murdoch: “You have been convicted with the murder of Anthony Laurie. In these circumstances I have no other option but to imprison you for life.

“The use of a knife is a serious matter. Offences involving knives are a source of major crime in Scotland.

“I am obliged to follow the guidance set down by the appeal court in matters such as this and I will set the punishment part at 16 years.”

During the trial the court heard Mr Kashani say that Mr Laurie took a dislike to Murdoch because he was playing with a Stanley blade and was acting like a “hard man”.

The pair had gone to the property in Glenhove Road, where Murdoch was living at the time, to purchase drugs.

Mr Kashani told prosecution lawyer Andrew Brown QC: “The defendant was playing with a Stanley blade. He was acting the hard man and he was lording it over us.

“He said he was from a rough area of Glasgow and he was selling drugs.”

Mr Kashani said the pair started fighting. He saw Murdoch making stabbing motions towards his pal’s upper body.

He added: “Anton and him were squaring up to each other in the hall, like standing opposite each other, sizing each other up.

“Anthony was shouting ‘come ahead then’ and ‘bring it on then.’

“I tried to get Anthony to come with me at this point.”

Mr Kashani said that Anton and Mr Murdoch started swinging punches at each other. He also told the court that he saw Mr Murdoch holding a knife that was “four to five inches in length.”

He added: “He then made stabbing motions towards Anton’s body.”

Mr Kashani then told Mr Brown that he thought Mr Murdoch had struck his friend’s body with a blade.

He added: “I believe he was stabbing Anton.”

Mr Kashani told the court that he managed to get his friend out of the house and away from Mr Murdoch. But after they left the flat Mr Laurie collapsed. “Anton just stopped. He slouched down to the ground. He just fell forwards. I tried to get him up. I tried to lift him up by the shoulders. He was like a dead weight.

“He was making gurgling noises. I noticed blood on the left and right sides of his chest. After I tried to get him up, I started to run.”

After the jury returned its verdict, it was revealed that Murdoch has previous convictions for violence, including one in 2006 for attempted murder.

Murdoch’s lawyer, John Scullion QC, told the court he was unable to say much on his client’s behalf as Murdoch maintained he was innocent.

People in the public benches shouted “scumbag” at Murdoch as he sat in the dock. Murdoch’s partner was accompanied from the court by police following the verdict and Anthony’s family applauded jurors as they left the court.