Man jailed for vicious acid attack on Scottish journalist

William Burns, 56, assaulted Russell Findlay while disguised as a postman on the doorstep of his home. Picture: Handout
William Burns, 56, assaulted Russell Findlay while disguised as a postman on the doorstep of his home. Picture: Handout
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A “dangerous” man was jailed today after he was convicted of a vicious acid attack on a journalist.

William Burns, 56, assaulted Russell Findlay while disguised as a postman on the doorstep of his home.

He threw sulphuric acid on Mr Findlay’s face before knocking the crime reporter to the ground then physically attacked him.

However, Mr Findlay fought back as his terrified young daughter ran to a neighbour’s home for help on December 23, 2015.

Buckets of water were then thrown over Mr Findlay’s face which fortunately diluted the effects of the acid.

Burns denied the offence but was found guilty of assaulting the journalist to the danger of his life following a trial in Glasgow last month.

He had claimed he had only turned up to former Sunday Mail journalist’s home to beat him up.

The career criminal insisted that the journalist had told him he had a compromising photo of him with a young blonde woman.

Lord Matthews imposed a 15 year extended sentence at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday.

Burns will spend 10 years of this in custody with five years supervision after he is released from jail.

Sentencing him, Lord Matthews said: “You have been convicted of a vicious, premeditated attack by the throwing of sulphuric acid into the face of a journalist on the threshold of his own home two days before Christmas.

“You were caught virtually red-handed and your own evidence was an obvious fabrication form start to finish, plainly being made up as you were going along.

“Leaving aside your own explanation why you were there, the only reason I can discern for your actions is that you objected to something that your victim wrote.

“There are ways and means of dealing with grievances, real or imagined, against the media and this was plainly not one of them.

“The freedom of the press is an essential tool in the armoury of any democracy and attacks of this nature will not be tolerated.

“You have a bad record and are clearly a dangerous man.”

At the previous hearing it was revealed that Burns had an extensive criminal record.

He was jailed for 15 years in 2001 after gunning down a woman during a post office robbery in Linwood, Renfrewshire.

In 1996, Burns was also locked up for six years for threatening a security guard with a gun after he stole a cake from a Marks and Spencer store in Paisley.

He has also been convicted of charges of assault, firearms and carrying offensive weapons.

He went on trial with another man, Alexander Porter, 48, who was accused of the same charge against the journalist.

Mr Porter was claimed to be the getaway driver but was acquitted after the case was found not proven against him.