A KILLER who lied in a bid to avoid being arrested for the cold-blooded murder of his friend has been jailed for life.
James Caven, 39, stabbed his friend Colin Armstrong, 49, to death in Macmerry, near Tranent, in October 2014.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how he knifed Mr Armstrong 27 times during a horrifying attack at a house in the town’s Greenmill Brae. But rather than admit responsibility, Caven told police that his friend was killed by two other men.
Police found overwhelming evidence that Caven was the attacker and brought him into custody. Detectives were however, unable to establish a motive for why Caven turned on Mr Armstrong and ended his life.
During an eight-day trial, Caven repeated his lies about the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death. But a jury refused to believe him and returned a unanimous guilty verdict.
Passing sentence, judge Lord Uist ordered Caven to serve at least 20 years before he would become eligible for parole.
Lord Uist added: “Only you know what caused you to do this. In response to the overwhelming evidence against you, you lied and lied and lied again.
“You have shown no remorse for what you did and even falsely blamed men in an attempt to cover up your guilt.”
Caven, originally of Greenmill Brae, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Armstrong on October 7 last year.
During proceedings, the court heard how the pair were friends and spent lots of time together, but the jury also heard that Caven nursed a grudge against Mr Armstrong.
Approximately one month before Mr Armstrong was murdered, Caven asked neighbour William Maryniuk, 31, for a knife to attack his friend. The father of two said the request came during a conversation between the pair.
He added: “He turns round and says ‘give me a knife’. I asked him why. He said ‘I’m going to stab Colin because he won’t get out of my house.”
Another neighbour, Craig Goodfellow, 30, told the jury that Caven also threatened to attack him.
He added: “He told me that he knew my living room window was open at nighttime. He said he would come through the window and shoot me.”
The court heard that in October 2014, Mr Armstrong was stabbed repeatedly in a cruel and sustained attack.
Police investigating the incident found overwhelming forensic evidence that Caven was the man responsible for the murder. The court also heard that Caven assaulted Mr Armsrtong in the weeks leading up to his death.
Detective Sergeant Neil Seath said: “Colin Armstrong gave his friendship to James Caven only to be repaid with incidents of escalating violence leading ultimately to a vicious sustained and murderous knife assault.
“Caven, rather than providing an explanation which may have given Colin’s family some level of understanding, chose to try and shift the blame on to others, resulting in extensive inquiries having to be made to eliminate innocent individuals.”