Teenager who stabbed schoolboy through heart at Scottish train station jailed for life

A teenager who stabbed a 14-year-old schoolboy through the heart and left him dying has been sentenced to a minimum of 16 years behind bars.

Daniel Haig, 18, murdered Justin McLaughlin, 14, with a single blow through the heart at Glasgow’s High Street Station on October 16, 2021.

Haig was 16 at the time.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday and ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years before he is eligible for parole, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said.

Daniel Haig. Picture: Police ScotlandDaniel Haig. Picture: Police Scotland
Daniel Haig. Picture: Police Scotland
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During the trial at the High Court in Glasgow in June, the court was played CCTV of an altercation between Justin and Haig.

Justin had arrived at the train station with a group of friends, while Haig and an acquaintance were already at the station.

Haig denied murdering Justin and claimed he carried a knife for protection.

At an earlier hearing, Haig pleaded guilty to a previous assault and to previously carrying a concealed knife.

Daniel Haig arrives at Glasgow's High Street Station. Picture: Crown OfficeDaniel Haig arrives at Glasgow's High Street Station. Picture: Crown Office
Daniel Haig arrives at Glasgow's High Street Station. Picture: Crown Office

Prosecutors said that during the trial, the court heard Haig and Justin were affiliated to rival gangs in Glasgow’s east end.

During the altercation at the station, the court heard Haig had dropped his knife on the train tracks and jumped off the platform to retrieve it before chasing after and striking Justin with the weapon while the younger boy was in a “defenceless” position.

In a sentencing statement posted on the Judiciary of Scotland website, judge Lord Clark told Haig: “Your murder of [Justin McLaughlin] has had a devastating effect on the family.

“They are left with the dreadful loss you have caused for the rest of their lives. There is no sentence available to me which can even begin to alleviate the impact on them.

The scene at Glasgow's High Street Station where the murder occurred. Picture: Crown OfficeThe scene at Glasgow's High Street Station where the murder occurred. Picture: Crown Office
The scene at Glasgow's High Street Station where the murder occurred. Picture: Crown Office
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“It is deeply disturbing to see this gang activity still happening.

“It has been going on for many decades. A boy with a knife attacking and killing another boy because he is from a different local scheme, and there is gang rivalry, is completely senseless.

“The sentence for murder is fixed by law. I therefore sentence you to detention for life.”

Prosecutor Moira Orr, head of homicide and major crime for COPFS, said: “This case is tragic evidence of the destruction wreaked when young people carry bladed weapons.

“Daniel Haig armed himself with a knife. Just 16 himself at the time, he was carrying it in his rucksack as he walked in Glasgow city centre.

“Because he had that knife, Justin McLaughlin lost his life two days after his 14th birthday. His family, his friends and a wider community have been left utterly bereft.

“Our thoughts are with them now as they struggle with the enormity of their loss.

“Meanwhile, at the age of 18, Haig now faces a future spent in jail as a result of his actions.

“We must hope this sends a message to children and teenagers who may be tempted to carry knives.

“They risk causing calamitous and irreparable harm to others and to themselves.”

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