THE mother of tragic teenager Brett Lodge has spoken of the devastation of losing her son – two years after her former partner was also murdered.
Gillian Lodge told how the death of 17-year-old Brett had been “horrendous” and left a “big hole” in the family’s hearts.
She was speaking after Declan Robertson, 17, and Andrew Parfinowski, 18, who were both close friends of Brett, were found guilty of murder at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday after a four-week trial.
Another friend, Cameron McKail, 17, who faced a murder charge alongside them, was convicted of a lesser charge of assaulting Brett.
Ms Lodge, whose former partner, Martyn Barclay, was shot dead in The Inch in January 2009, said after the verdict yesterday: “It is still hard to believe he has gone, and
harder still to know that his life was taken by people he trusted and thought of as friends.”
The thugs attacked Brett with a baseball bat on a path between Claverhouse Drive and Glendinning Crescent in Liberton on July 1 last year.
The teenager was struck with such force that he died from brain injuries at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital eight days later.
Detective Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, head of CID at Lothian and Borders Police, said the killing had been “fuelled by alcohol” while Brett’s death had inflicted a “huge impact” on his family.
Both Robertson and Parfinowski sobbed as the jury returned with guilty verdicts on the second day of deliberations. Members of Robertson’s family ran from court and cried loudly outside whilst the victim’s family held hands with each other in the public benches.
Robertson, of Clarinda
Terrace, Liberton; Parfinowski, of Ravenswood Avenue, The Inch; and McKail, of Drummond Street, near the Pleasance, had denied murder.
A fourth youth, Bradley Lumsden, 17, of High Street, Prestonpans, was cleared of murder when the charge against him was dropped during proceedings last month.
The court heard that the three accused knew Brett – a former pupil of Newbattle Community High in Dalkeith – since he was a small boy.
Robertson and Parfinowski attacked him after spending the night at a party in a house in Claverhouse Drive where teenage revellers drank alcohol and smoked cannabis.
The court heard that the youths fell out with one another and started fighting in the street after accusing Brett of damaging a back door of the property.
As their friend lay dying, Robertson rang 999 and confessed his guilt to an emergency services operator.
The court was played a tape recording of the call in which Robertson told the operator that he thought police were looking for him.
He told the operator: “I have done something, like, really bad. I hit somebody with a baseball bat.”
Asked in court what made him make the call an hour after the attack, Robertson replied: “Cos it was one of my good pals and, like, I never meant to do it and I feel really, like, guilty.”
Robertson claimed he had a baseball bat because party-goers were fighting and he was unsure whether others were going to “jump in”.
He added: “I had a baseball bat and one of my pals turned round and punched me in the face so I hit him with the baseball bat on the head, just like a reaction.”
Robertson told the court that he and Brett were “best friends” and were like “brothers”.
Det Ch Supt Imery said: “Brett was subjected to a vicious and sustained assault inflicted by individuals who, fuelled by alcohol, were intent on causing him harm. Brett’s death has had a huge impact on his family, and it is my sincere hope that today’s convictions bring some comfort to them.
“I would like to thank them for the assistance they provided police during the course of the investigation into Brett’s murder, and to pay tribute to their courage and dignity.”
Temporary judge John Morris QC deferred sentence until December 6 for reports.