Man jailed for deadly row over daughter’s tablet
A man has been jailed for life after stabbing a neighbour to death in a row over his daughter’s tablet.
Darren O’Neill, 34, was ordered to serve at least 17 years for murdering Steven Quail at a house in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, in February.
O’Neill, who stayed in the same street as his victim, inflicted 25 knife wounds on Mr Quail in the attack.
Mr Quail, 42, was found dead in the hall of his house after suffering extensive internal bleeding.
Unemployed O’Neill earlier admitted murdering Mr Quail.
THe court had heard that O’Neill returned home in the early hours of the morning and told his girlfriend Keri McPhee: “I’ve stabbed a guy.”
He later revealed he had stabbed Mr Quail whom he knew as “Quaily”.
‘Ferocious and merciless’
Advocate depute Jo McDonald, prosecuting, said: “He told her that ‘Quaily’ wanted to see their daughter’s computer tablet and that ‘He was trying to take Ava’s tablet’.”
O’Neill, who acted as his girlfriend’s carer, told her: “I don’t want to go to jail.”
Sentencing O’Neill, at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lady Scott said: “On any view this was a ferocious and merciless attack.
“The attack upon your victim was excessive, cruel and murderous.”
“The deceased was well loved by his family who have been left devastated and bereft.”
But Lady Scott added that she accepted O’Neill was not the instigator of the incident.
Mr Quail had brought out a knife which O’Neill managed to take off him.
Drug user O’Neill told a friend after the murder that he had killed someone.
Self defence claim
O’Neill, who had appeared calm, said that Mr Quail had gone into the kitchen and returned with a knife and tried to stab him.
Defence counsel John Scullion QC said that O’Neill was prescribed the heroin substitute methadone and had been using valium at the time of the crime.
He also said O’Neill, who expressed regret over his actions, explained that violence was initiated by the deceased when he refused to hand over the tablet as part of a drug debt.
He said: “The accused’s position is that he did not intend to kill Mr Quail.”
Lady Scott told the killer she had reduced his minimum jail term from 19 years following his guilty plea to murder.