Isle of Lewis 2011 murder to feature on Eòrpa

THE first murder in the Western Isles in over 40 years will feature in BBC Alba’s award-winning current affairs programme Eòrpa, which returns to our screens tonight.
Liam Aitchison, whose body was found on the Isle of Lewis in November 2011. Picture: PALiam Aitchison, whose body was found on the Isle of Lewis in November 2011. Picture: PA
Liam Aitchison, whose body was found on the Isle of Lewis in November 2011. Picture: PA

The series begins with a special programme looking at the Liam Aitchison murder that occurred on the Isle of Lewis in November 2011.

Speaking with 16-year-old Liam’s family as well as those who knew him and his murderers, reporter Darren Laing will present his own insight into the murder.

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Two men, Jonathan Mackinnon and Stefan Millar, both 22, were jailed for life following a trial earlier this year, and both will serve at least 18 years for the murder.

Liam was found dead in a derelict building in the Steinish area of Stornoway on Lewis.

The teenager had been struck on the head and body with a knife and bottle, and had his head stamped on repeatedly, during what police called a “senseless and sustained” attack.

MacKinnon and Millar denied murder, but were found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Glasgow in June.

Judge Lord Kinclaven handed both killers life sentences, as required by law, and ordered them to spend at least 18 years behind bars before they can be considered for release.

He told them: “You have both been convicted by verdict of the jury of the most serious of crimes – the crime of murder,” he told the pair during a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh.

“This was the brutal murder of a young man who was only 16 years of age.”

Liam’s relatives said at the time that the killers were “getting off lightly”, and insisted that life imprisonment should mean life.

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Liam, originally from South Uist, believed the killers were his friends. He worked and socialised with Millar and MacKinnon after he moved to Stornoway.

But the pair beat and stabbed the teenager on 23 November, 2011, then left him to die in the remote derelict building. His body was discovered several days later.

The programme will be screened tonight on BBC Alba at 8.30pm.

The series will also visit the Faroes where sanctions on the landing of mackerel and herring at European ports have forced the islands to seek new markets.

Eòrpa will also report on the growing concern for the homeless immigrant population in Denmark who do not receive any Government assistance if they don’t possess a social security number.

There are provisions for health care run by volunteer doctors, nurses and support workers however, with winter drawing in, charitable organisations are concerned as to how the immigrants will cope without appropriate shelter.

Produced by BBC Gàidhlig for BBC ALBA, the 21st series of Eòrpa will be broadcast weekly every Wednesday at 8.30pm commencing tonight.

Each programme is repeated the following Friday at 7.30pm on BBC ALBA as well as on BBC2 Scotland at 11.20pm on Monday evenings and BBC Parliament each Sunday.