A jury has convicted a man of murdering his drinking buddy because he was offended by a bad joke.
Jobless Derek Kinghorn of Hawick stabbed Dunfermline-born Brian Mair to death because he quipped: “That’s not what yer ma said”.
Giving evidence, the fanatical Hearts supporter told the High Court at Livingston: “I found it offensive.
“He didn’t know my mother and I found it disrespectful to talk about someone else’s mother.
“I love and respect my mother and I don’t like someone saying anything about her.”
Outside court, the dead man’s partner Amy Michaels commented: “Brian was a jokey guy and no-one took offence at the things he said.
Everybody loved him.”
Although the jury heard a tape of Kinghorn claiming in a phone call to his family that Mr Mair had accused him of sleeping with Ms Michaels, 46, no evidence was led to support this claim.
Mr Mair’s mum Emily Paton, 67, and his stepdad John said they were pleased with the jury’s majority verdict.
Mrs Paton added: “It was a just verdict. I just wanted him to be found guilty for Brian’s sake.
“No-one will ever know why it went to the stage it did.”
Deferring sentence for reports, judge Michael O’Grady told 44-year-old Kinghorn he had been convicted of a dreadful crime.
The judge told him: “It is crime which is as cruel as it is senseless and inhumane.
“You have taken the life of someone you have called friend, for reasons I suspect no-one can even begin to fathom.
“No sentence I can pass can bring any comfort to his son or to the family and friends of Mr. Mair.
“There is only one sentence I can impose and that is one of life imprisonment but, given your record, I consider it necessary to obtain background reports before passing sentence.”
Kinghorn – who attacked his pal of ten years after an all day drink and drugs binge in his flat in Hawick – made a triumphant gesture to his friends and family as he was led to the cells.
During the eight-day trial, the jury was told that Kinghorn, who last worked a decade ago, had drunk 10 cans of beer and smoked several cannabis joints with his friend on the day of the killing.
After the joke, he went to the kitchen, grabbed an eight-inch knife and brandished it in Mr Mair’s face, cutting him below an eye.
When Mr Mair smashed a tumbler on Kinghorn’s head in retaliation, the accused sliced open the main artery in his groin with the knife.
He then pushed him onto a sofa and stabbed him repeatedly on the body.
One stab wound pierced Mr. Mair’s shoulder blade, passed right through his lung and severed the main vein leading to his heart.
Mr Mair, 45, bled to death despite frantic efforts by Ms Michael and paramedics to save him.
Kinghorn, had denied repeatedly striking Mr Mair on the head and body with a knife, threatening to kill him and murdering him on November 1, last year.
He was acquitted of knifing Ms Michaels and causing her severe injury and permanent disfigurement after the Crown withdrew the charge.