A GANG of killers have been convicted of torturing a vulnerable man to death in what a High Court judge has described as a “scandalous, disgraceful and horrific attack”.
Scott Blackwood, 30, was battered, stabbed, stamped on, strangled and tied up before an attempt was made to set him on fire.
Allan Nicol, 36, Thomas Moore, 26, and Georgina Smith, 22, unleashed their attack on Mr Blackwood despite claiming to be his friends.
Nicol and Moore were found guilty of murdering Mr Blackwood in Saltcoats, North Aryshire, on 3 July or 4 July last year.
They were both sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve at least 20 years each before being eligible for parole.
Smith was convicted of the lesser charge of killing Mr Blackwood following a five-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow. She will be sentenced next month.
Judge Lord McEwan said: “This was a scandalous, disgraceful and horrific attack on a young man including what amounted to torture.”
A pathologist later said the head injuries found on the victim were usually encountered in a car crash victims or people who had fallen from a great height.
Mr Blackwood, described by prosecutors as vulnerable, was relentlessly bullied by the gang before he was set upon last July. He had known his attackers for some time.
During the trial, the court heard that Smith claimed the fatal attack itself was sparked by the belief that Mr Blackwood was seeing Moore’s girlfriend Laura Johnstone behind his back – which the court later heard was false.
Witness Sean Sinclair, 21, told how he went to Nicol’s home on the night of his murder and discovered an already badly beaten Mr Blackwood.
He said Moore stood over the victim armed with a metal pole covered in blood.
In a police interview, witness Sinclair, 21, said: “Tommy hit Scott with the barbell. Alan started laying into Scott on the side of the legs.
“Georgie was shouting, ‘Finish him, finish him’. Georgie just kept egging Tommy on.”
The killers eventually dragged a dying Mr Blackwood to his own home because Nicol was “panicking” about the blood in his home.
But the brutal assault continued as Smith hit the victim while Nicol held him up.
Mr Sinclair added in the interview: “Scott could not stand, so he could have already been dead.”
Mr Sinclair recalled Scott falling down stairs and Nicol claiming he “deserved” it.
Scott was then hauled back upstairs before being tied to a bath and his ankles bound together with a dog lead.
He said: “Georgie then got a bottle of turps and when she came back, she poured it all over him. She tried to set him on fire using a lighter – but I stopped her.”
Mr Blackwood suffered 72 separate injuries including 13 stabs wounds and three broken ribs.