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Man killed neighbour in row over missing bottle of Malibu 

Paul Beattie was convicted of killing James Gatti by stabbing him with a knife at a party.

Court: Beattie was convicted of culpable homicide.
Court: Beattie was convicted of culpable homicide.

A man has been convicted of killing a party goer in a row over a missing bottle of alcohol.

Paul Beattie, 45, killed his neighbour James Gatti by stabbing him with a knife at Guardwell Glen in Gilmerton, Edinburgh, on July 29 last year.

Beattie had originally been charged with the murder of Mr Gatti but was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He had denied murdering Mr Gatti, 34, following a party at the victim's step mother Lorraine's house in the same street.

The court heard Mr Beattie admit that he stabbed Mr Gatti following a confrontation at the party, but he said he was protecting his girlfriend who was being attacked.

The court heard that Beattie's girlfriend got into a fight with women at the party because she thought that a bottle of white rum Malibu had been stolen.

Victim: James Gatti was fatally stabbed.
Victim: James Gatti was fatally stabbed.

Beattie and his partner were asked to leave the party and were physically removed from the house.

He later returned to the party armed with a knife.

He told defence advocate Shelagh McCulloch QC: "I reached over and poked him with a knife.

"I wanted to give him a superficial cut. I didn't want the knife to go all the way in."

When asked to explain his position, Mr Beattie said that he thought that if he inflicted a superficial wound on Mr Gatti, people would stop assaulting his partner.

He added: "I thought if they saw blood and if I said 'he's been stabbed', they'd leave her alone."

Mr Gatti later died in hospital from two stab wounds which he had sustained during the confrontation with Mr Beattie.

Prosecutors maintained Beattie's position was ludicrous. They said that returning to the scene with a knife was an indication that he was plotting murder.

'Although this conviction will not bring James back, I hope it will give his family some measure of closure'
DI Bruce Coutts

However, Beattie lodged a special defence that he was acting in the defence of another person.

Following the jury's verdict, Lady Scott adjourned proceedings for the court to obtain reports on Beattie's character.

She added: "I am deferring sentence for reports. Please co-operate as much as possible with the these reports."

Beattie will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on August 2.

Detective inspector Bruce Coutts of Corstorphine CID said: "I want to extend my sincere condolences to James Gatti's friends and family.

"Paul Beattie's criminal and brutal actions resulted in James Gatti's death and he has now been convicted.

"Although this conviction will not bring James back, I hope it will give his family some measure of closure.

"I would also like to pay tribute to my team who carried out a thoroughly professional and robust investigation in conjunction with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service that has resulted in this result at court today."

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