The family of a Borders murder victim have hit out at claims made by his killer that he was a paedophile.
David Farish, 75, was stabbed to death at his home in Broadlee Bank, Tweedbank, in February last year.
Richard Cassidy, 70, was convicted of his murder in June after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow and faces a life sentence when he returns to court for sentencing after reports next week.
Cassidy had turned himself into police and admitted killing the father of six but denied murder, unsuccessfully offering instead a guilty plea to a charge of culpable homicide.
The former soldier claimed he had lost his temper after confronting Mr Farish and was reportedly told that the police couldn’t prove anything.
That defence, rejected by jurors, has angered Mr Farish’s family as they say it is unfair to blacken the name of someone unable to defend himself without any proof to back up the claims being made.
“To be honest, I’m livid. I’m disgusted that that word, paedophile, was allowed to be used in court,” said his sister Kathleen Richards, 68, formerly of Galashiels but now living in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
“This has affected his children and siblings really, really badly. I just feel that David’s reputation has been blackened when he’s not able to defend himself, and mud sticks.
“Galashiels is not a very big town, and people will talk.
“I just can’t believe that this has happened.
“I think it’s unjust as David was never proven to be a paedophile. He was thoroughly investigated by the police when these allegations were first brought to light, and the case was dropped.
“The judge couldn’t emphasise enough that there was no evidence to prove these allegations were true, and he stated that it was just to be regarded as hearsay.”
Although accepting that accused such as Cassidy had every right to put forward a defence, Mrs Richards, one of three siblings of the late Mr Farish, added that she felt that, if possible, restrictions ought to be put in place to prevent victims’ reputations being blackened on the basis of unsubstantiated claims.
The trial heard that the accusations against Mr Farish were investigated in 2006 but no charges were ever brought.