Young dad’s killer lodges appeal to get verdict overturned

A KILLER jailed for 15 years for stabbing a young father to death is appealing against his conviction and the length of his sentence.

James Purves was cleared of murder by a jury, but they found the 29-year-old joiner guilty of the culpable homicide of Paul Scott on February 7.

Mr Scott, from Niddrie Mill, who was the father of a young boy named Jay, did not live to see the birth of his second son, Jared, on April 26.

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Now lawyers for Purves have quickly submitted appeals to the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh following his imprisonment in late October. Purves had claimed he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed scaffolder Mr Scott with a knife in his flat in Toll House Gardens, Tranent. At his trial he said Mr Scott was the one with the knife and claimed he had stabbed him as he tried to disarm him.

Following his conviction in October, the High Court in Edinburgh heard Purves had a violent history, which included two jail terms for assaults.

He was sentenced to nine months in 2004 for an assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, while in 2006 he was jailed for two years for an assault to injury.

Sentencing him, Michael O’Grady QC told Purves he had committed “a dreadful and appalling crime”. He added: “You have taken the life of a young man and, sadly, no sentence I can impose can change that or right that wrong.”

The trial heard how Purves’ on-off girlfriend, Donna Beatson, 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. Ms Beatson, 21, let them in with keys she had secretly had cut the previous afternoon. Inside, Purves was at home with friend James Ritchie, 27, and two girls following his own night out.

Moments later, Mr Scott lay dying after Purves struck at least three blows with a large kitchen knife after shouting and swearing about the people entering his flat. Witnesses said Mr Scott’s arms were at his side and he did nothing to defend himself against 19-stone Purves.

However, tearful Purves, giving evidence, claimed it was Mr Scott who had the knife and spoke of the “horrible feeling” as he stabbed Mr Scott in a bid to disarm him. Purves told the jury he only wanted the other man to let go and stop punching him. The trial also heard that the fatal encounter followed a string of threatening texts from Ms Beatson to Purves during the previous day.