Hawick youth told his murder attack was horrific

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A YOUTH who stabbed and battered to death a man he described as his best mate has pleaded guilty to murder, writes Bob Burgess.

Bloodstained Dean Rippon was arrested in Selkirk Sheriff Court where he was about to freed after appearing on a shoplifting charge.

Earlier police had discovered 43-year-old Christopher Swailes dead in his home at Liddesdale Road in Hawick. The flat was heavily stained with blood.

Police had been alerted by a neighbour who spotted that the door to the victim’s flat was open.

Mr Swailes had been stabbed in the chest and suffered blunt force injuries to his head. His dog was standing over his body.

At the High Court in Edinburgh 20-year-old Ribbon admitted the killing. He was 19 at the time of the fatal attack in November last year.

The court heard the pair had been drinking and that Rippon had made threats. But when police called at the Liddesdale Road flat Mr Swailes confirmed they were friends.

Later there were sounds of an argument and Rippon was spotted “sauntering away”, according to advocate depute Andrew Brown.

Rippon headed for the town’s Morrison’s supermarket where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting and spent the night in the cells at Hawick police station.

The grim discovery was made the next morning and Rippon was found at court with bloodstains on his clothes and footwear.

Judge brands attack as horrific

Forensic scientists linked him to the killing using DNA samples . A forensic psychiatrist concluded he was sane and fit to plead.

Judge , Lady Smith, told Rippon the murder had arisen from horrific assaults. He’ll be jailed for life after background reports have been prepared and Lady Smith will determine how long he must serve behind bars before being considered for parole.

After the hearing Detective Inspector Stuart Houston of Lothian and Borders Police, who led the investigation, said he hoped the guilty plea would allow those who knew and cared for Mr Swailes to move on with their lives.

He added: “This was a crime that shocked the local community and from the outset the community rallied round and provided us with information and assistance that was crucial in helping to bring this case to court.”

Rippon was remanded in custody while awaiting sentence.