THE grieving family of murdered Hazel North have welcomed a life sentence handed to her boyfriend, saying they were pleased that “such an evil individual has been removed from society”.
John Davis, 26, was yesterday ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars for what a judge branded a “wholly motiveless attack”.
Davis returned to the High Court in Glasgow 24 hours after he pleaded guilty to killing Ms North, 19, and then burying her body in a park close to his home. Lady Rae told Davis: “The circumstances disclose that this was a brutal and prolonged attack.
“You destroyed a young woman’s life while she was in her prime and you have caused indescribable suffering to her family.”
Davis showed no emotion as he was led handcuffed to the cells to begin his life sentence.
Ms North’s family, including parents Rosina and Graeme, and brother Michael, were in court to see Davis sentenced.
Michael North said he was “delighted” that “such an evil individual has been removed from society”.
He added: “Nothing will bring Hazel back. We would ask people to remember Hazel for who she was and her beautiful smile, and not the tragedy that ended her life.”
The court heard on Tuesday that Davis battered his girlfriend at his flat in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, in March this year.
The teenager, originally from Dunfermline, Fife, may have lay dying for up to 18 hours before her boyfriend delivered a fatal blow, prosecutors said.
Davis then hid her remains in a shallow grave in Dean Park in Kilmarnock, just 300 yards from his home.
He later boasted to a friend: “I done her in and buried her.”
It was only during a large-scale search to find Ms North that Davis finally handed himself in to police, weeks after the killing.
He had previously fled the country in a failed bid to join the French Foreign Legion.
Ms North’s naked body was discovered in a “reasonably well concealed grave”, wrapped in a sheet and a curtain.
The court heard that she died having suffered “severe blunt force trauma” to her head, neck and body.
Her list of injuries included massive bruising and multiple fractures – including to the jaw, eye socket and 14 to the ribs.
Davis also admitted attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
Lady Rae said it was clear Davis had a “considerable propensity for violence”.
The court heard on Tuesday that he was jailed for an assault with a golf club in 2012 – but had been freed early from prison at the time of the killing.
Lady Rae yesterday said this latest jail term would have been 23 years, but for his guilty plea.
The judge added: “The assault must have been perpetrated over a long part of the day.
Tragically, you sought no assistance for her.”
She also told Davis that in covering up the death: “You must have caused the family untold suffering, not knowing where she was or whether she was alive or dead.”