Man ‘didn’t mean to kill’ ex-soldier Robbie Morrison

A MAN who stabbed a former soldier to death told police: “I didn’t mean to kill him.”

Ex-soldier Robbie Morrison

Dad of one Robbie Morrison, 31, died in hospital three days after being knifed in the leg by Kristian Nelson.

Police were easily led to the killer’s home in Wester Hailes by following a trail of blood from wounded Morrison, who crawled 400 yards from the scene of the attack.

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At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, Nelson, who was originally accused of murdering Mr Morrison, pled guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide. He admitted killing the father-of-one by striking him on the leg with a knife at Dumbryden Gardens on August 22 last year.

Colin Craig. Picture: Police Scotland

Unemployed Nelson, 37, formerly of Dumbryden Gardens, who has previous convictions for assault, later told police: “I didn’t mean to kill him.”

Nelson’s co-accused Colin Craig, 46, of the city’s Murrayburn Place, had also originally faced a charge of murdering Mr Morrison, 31, but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to assault.

Craig tripped Mr Morrison after he tried to run away following a confrontation with Nelson. He also dumped the weapon along with a bloodstained jumper in the nearby Union Canal.

Mr Morrison, 31, managed to crawl 400 yards before collapsing on a public pathway.

Kristian Nelson. Picture: Police Scotland

Police have admitted they remain unsure as to why Mr Morrison, who lived two miles away in Oxgangs, was in the area or whether he knew his attackers.

Advocate depute Steven Borthwick told the court that Mr Morrison, an only child who had a young daughter, left the army in 2011 after six years’ service. He later became involved in substance misuse and it was believed be bought drugs in Wester Hailes, but had been seeking help with his problem.

He added: “There is some information to suggest that the now deceased owed a debt to a third party and that the confrontation between Robbie Morrison and the accused arose as a result of that debt.”

A woman noticed blood on a path and followed it and found him sitting on the ground with his back to a fence. Paramedics and police arrived and Mr Morrison told them he had taken drugs that day and described the knife used on him as “big”.

Robbie Morrison's car was turned into a tank for his return from Iraq. Picture: Greg Macvean

The prosecutor said: “Police officers followed the blood trail which led them to an area outside 77 Dumbryden Gardens.”

Nelson emerged from the address and told an officer he had heard two males shouting outside his house and saw one running off, pursued by the other.

Mr Morrison stopped breathing on the way to hospital and was given resuscitation treatment. He underwent surgery but his condition deteriorated and he died in the early hours of Monday, August 25.

His DNA was found in blood discovered on jeans and a training shoe taken from Nelson.

Colin Craig and Kristian Nelson appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Cunningham of the Major Investigation Team said: “Robbie’s family have endured tremendous anguish and distress as a result of the despicable actions of Craig and Nelson. Although nothing can undo their wicked actions I hope [this] will provide some sense of closure.”

Quiet man who was good to his mum

Mr Morrison was a former guardsman with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, and left behind a young daughter.

He had served tours in the Middle East before leaving the army around three years before his death.

His mum Lynn described her only child as a “quiet, very hard-working man” who was “good to his mum”.

Mr Morrison hit the headlines in 2008 when he returned from a six-month deployment to find that his family had decked out his Ford Fiesta to look like a tank.

Detectives set up a confidential hotline to encourage witnesses to the stabbing to come forward. They also conducted drug raids in Wester Hailes after a surge of intelligence.