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Man stabbed friend to death after 'trivial' argument

Gary Smith, 24, admitted murdering his friend Joseph McMenemy at his home.

Court: Joseph McMenemy was stabbed repeatedly.
Court: Joseph McMenemy was stabbed repeatedly.

A man is facing a life sentence after he admitted murdering his friend by stabbing him 14 times after a "trivial" argument.

Gary Smith, 24, stabbed and slashed his friend Joseph McMenemy, causing massive blood loss.

Mr McMenemy, 27, was stabbed at least ten times in the neck and four times in the chest and shoulders.

Smith, from Larkhall, changed his plea to guilty on the second day of his trial after seeing video footage which showed the horrific wounds he had inflicted.

A DVD which showed Joseph lying dead and covered in blood was played to the jury.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Smith admitted murdering Joseph by repeatedly stabbing him on the head, neck and body at his home in Donaldson Street , Hamilton on November 15, 2016.

The court heard that the friends had a trivial argument which sparked the horrific violence.

Judge Tom Hughes QC told Smith: "It is not obvious why this happened, but it is an appalling tragedy."

Judge Hughes deferred sentence until next month at the High Court in Edinburgh for background reports and told Smith he will determine then how many years he must spend in jail before being eligible for parole.

Prosecutor Jim Keegan QC said: "Mr McMenemy was employed by a hospitality agency. He is survived by his adoptive parents with whom he had a close relationship."

The court heard that he spent the morning of November 15, 2016, with his mother Anne McMenemy and in the evening returned home.

The court heard that Smith had been staying with Mr McMenemy for a few days.

'Mr Smith realises that nothing said by him can ever redress this situation.'
Defence QC Tony Graham

Neighbours in Donaldson Street heard loud music, arguing and shouting between 9.30pm and 10.20pm and dull groans and then it went silent.

Just after midnight Smith knocked on one of the doors and said: "Joe needs help."

When police arrived at the flat they found Joseph lying on his back, fully clothed, with a large bloodstained knife resting on his shoulder.

Prosecutor Jim Keegan QC said: "He had three large lacerations to the left side of his neck and a large laceration to the left side of his face. There were no signs of life."

Initially, Smith told police that the flat had been broken into by three men who attacked him and his friend.

But he kept changing his story and when police investigations revealed that there had been no intruders, Smith was charged with murder.

Defence QC Tony Graham said: "Mr Smith has asked me to apologise to the jurors for the photographs they had to view.

"He wasn't ready to admit what he had done. However the reality of seeing what he had done meant that he is now accepting responsibility.

"Gary Smith and Joseph McMenemy were friends. Too much alcohol was taken and an argument, over a no doubt trivial matter, resulted in the death of Mr McMenemy.

"Mr Smith realises that nothing said by him can ever redress this situation.

"The only thing he could do was admit his guilt. He apologises to the family of Mr McMenemy."

Smith will be sentenced next month.

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