THE girlfriend of a man who was stabbed to death two months before the birth of their baby today spoke of her heartbreak that he was robbed of the chance to see his son grow up.
When Fiona King told her partner Paul Scott that she was pregnant he described it as the “best news ever” and spent all his time renovating their Gracemount home for their child.
But tragically, the 22-year-old was attacked and killed by James Purves who knifed him through the heart during his first night out for five months.
Only the night before, Mr Scott had told his girlfriend that he “loved his life”.
Purves, 29, was convicted of culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday after a jury cleared him of murder. He was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of killing Mr Scott in Tollhouse Gardens, Tranent on February 7.
Ms King, 30, said the verdict was an “injustice” and that it should have brought a murder conviction, but added that “no length of time or sentence will ever bring Paul back.”
She gave birth to their son on April 26, and called him Jared – Mr Scott’s middle name – which the couple had chosen after learning they were having a boy at a hospital scan.
Ms King said: “The impact of Paul’s death has been enormous. I don’t know how I have got from February until now. It all seems like a blur. I will never, ever get over Paul’s death and I will always love him.
“It makes it so much harder to know that Paul loved his life and was becoming the person he so wanted to be. He told me on the Saturday night that he loved his life. In the last five months of Paul’s life, he turned his attention to the house and garden and loved getting the garden into shape.
“He was so proud when we bought our family home two years ago, somewhere that was ours, where we could raise our family.
“In all that time Paul had been out only twice, once to a funeral the week before and that day we went out to watch the football where he ended up dead.”
Mr Scott already had a son, Jay, now six, when he began his relationship with Ms King, who had a boy and a girl, Caitlyn and Kyle, now aged 12 and four.
Still struggling with her loss, Ms King said she has considered the day she will have to tell Jared how his father died. She said: “I think about how I will tell Jared all the time, but Caitlyn, Kyle and Jay talk about Paul all the time, and he is still very much a presence in our home.
“They gather white feathers, as they say they’re from their dad’s wings, and it’s his way of telling them that he’s OK. Caitlyn shows Jared pictures of Paul and tells him stories about what he was like. So Jared will grow up knowing Paul, but tragically Paul won’t get to know Jared or be there to see him growing up.
“Paul was a fantastic dad. I asked Caitlyn what kind of dad Paul was and she said ‘the best one in the world’. Paul took on the responsibility of dad with no hesitation or reservation. He was fair, strict and great fun.
“Both Caitlyn and Kyle adored him. Jay was also very much part of our family and would be here two or three times every week. We would take the three kids out every weekend, mainly to different parks, as Paul and the kids loved being outside and running about mad.
“Paul was so excited about our baby. When I told him I was pregnant he said that it was the ‘best news ever’. Paul chose the name Jared after we’d been for a scan where we were told it was a boy. He couldn’t wait to tell his granny that we were going to call him Jared as it was her who’d asked for Jared to be included in Paul’s name. Jared is Hebrew for son of Paul.”
The trial heard how Purves’ on-off girlfriend, Donna Beatson, 21, turned up at his first-floor flat just before 4am on February 7 along with three women and three men, including Mr Scott, whom she had met during a night out in East Lothian and Edinburgh.
Moments later, Mr Scott lay dying after Purves struck at least three blows with a large kitchen knife after shouting and swearing about the uninvited guests entering his flat.
Witnesses said Mr Scott’s arms were at his side and he did nothing to defend himself against 19-stone Purves.
In court, Purves, who had previous convictions for serious assaults, had claimed he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Mr Scott after claiming the victim had pulled a knife on him.
Ms King said the family was left devastated after learning of Mr Scott’s killing. She added: “Paul’s mum had phoned me to say she’d heard rumours that something had happened to Paul. I went to her house and we tried to find out if the rumours were true. The police then came to confirm Paul had been killed.
“I won’t waste any more time thinking about James Purves, The pain and suffering he has caused to my family is immeasurable and no length of time or sentence will ever bring Paul back.
“I know it was murder. All our family and friends know it was murder. To call it anything else is an injustice.”
Ms King said that her late partner was a scaffolder and “loved his job”, leading other workers on his team as a chargehand, and carrying out work on sites including at the Forth bridges.
She added: “Paul was a happy, funny and incredibly loving person. He was always bouncing and dancing about the house and loved joking around with the kids. He loved music and would wake the kids up by playing the keyboard. He was also exceptionally clever and would excel at anything he put his mind to. He was always playing Scrabble or doing crosswords or word puzzles with Caitlyn and encouraging her to do well at school.
“He was very close to his family and loved them very much. He was adored and loved by all his family and friends. He was particularly close with his sister and brother, Emma and Michael.
“He loved playing football and was extremely talented. He played for Sandy’s, Leith Vic’s and Danderhall. He also played five-a-sides with his dad every week, and giving the “auld yins” a run for their money. They all called Paul “road runner” as he ran about mad.
“Paul loved cooking and would try out different recipes on me and the kids. They loved his apple crumble and Caitlyn still tries to replicate his, but always says hers is never as good as dad’s.”