Man found guilty of acid attack on journalist Russell Findlay

A NOTORIOUS criminal has been convicted of an acid attack on a journalist in Glasgow.

The jury returned the verdict after hearing all of the evidence at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
The jury returned the verdict after hearing all of the evidence at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

During a court case at the High Court in Glasgow, a jury found William Burns, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, guilty of assaulting his victim to the danger of his life.

Mr Burns was convicted for attacking journalist Russell Findlay on the doorstep of his home in Glasgow’s west end in December 2015.

The 56 year-old denied disguising himself as a postman and hurling sulphuric acid into the 44 year-old’s face leaving Mr Findlay lucky not to be blinded.

He insisted he had only turned up at Mr Findlay’s door to “beat up” the then investigative editor of the Scottish Sun, after claiming that the journalist had told him he had a compromising photo of Burns with a young blonde woman, which he had threatened to show to his wife.

Mr Burns went on to state Mr Findlay – who has also written books on gangland crime - must have thrown the acid on his own face.

Once the jury returned their verdict, Mr Burns’ extensive criminal record was then revealed to the court.

In 2001, he was jailed for 15 years for brutally gunning down a woman during a post office robbery in Linwood, Renfrewshire.

In 1996, Mr Burns was locked up for six years for threatening a security guard with a gun after he stole a cake from a Marks and Spencer store in Paisley. He also has previous convictions for assault, firearms and carrying offensive weapons.

Mr Burns had been freed early from the 15 year jail term when he attacked Mr Findlay.

The sentence had been due to expire in July 2016, just months after he struck in this latest crime.

Mr Burns – who showed no emotion at the verdict – was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

Co-accused Alexander Porter (48) – who faced the same charge and was said to be getaway driver – had a not proven verdict returned.

During the case, a jury heard how Mr Findlay answered his door around 8.30am on December 23 2015 and was told he had a parcel to sign for, before being handed a card to sign – but, as he did so, acid was flung in his face.

The journalist recalled: “I felt liquid on my face. Something very wrong had happened. He came at me in the hall. I knew I was being attacked.”

He wrestled Burns out of the house, held onto him and yelled for help.

Mr Findlay had originally given evidence in January this year, but that trial had to be abandoned.

He told that earlier hearing his young daughter had also been in the house and she was “very scared”, she raced to a neighbour’s to get help while her dad gripped hold of his attacker.

Mr Findlay told the first trial: “At one point I said: “Why did they send a fat clown like you as a hitman. Is this all I am worth?

“He said very little, but towards the end I asked him who had sent him and said: ‘Wee Jamie sends his regards’.”

A knife was reportedly found in the doorway along with a set of broken dentures nearby.

Mr Findlay was asked who they belonged to and replied: “They are my assailant’s false teeth.”

The victim’s daughter recalled how her dad had been “screaming for help” and that his “face was really sore”.

An eye specialist told the court that buckets of water being thrown over Mr Findlay’s face shortly after the attack had diluted the effects of the acid.

Burns admitted in evidence he went to Mr Findlay’s home, but denied going armed with a glass jar filled with acid and a knife.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard described Burns’ evidence as “improbable, bizarre and absurd.”