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Man murdered neighbour in row over child's tablet device

Darren O'Neill killed Steven Quail at the victim's home in Johnstone, Renfrewshire.

Steven Quail: He lived on the same street as murderer.
Steven Quail: He lived on the same street as murderer.

A killer stabbed a man to death after a row over a child's tablet computer.

Darren O'Neill murdered Steven Quail, 42, at the victim's home on Greenend Avenue in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, in February.

Mr Quail, who lived in the same street as O'Neill, suffered 25 wounds in the frenzied attack.

The 34 year-old later confessed to his partner and said: "I don't want to go to jail."

He now faces life behind bars after pleading guilty to murder at the High Court in Glasgow.

O'Neill had a home with his partner and young daughter while Mr Quail lived alone.

The killer knew the victim as "Quaily".

In the early hours of February 25, Mr Quail's neighbour heard "banging" and "rowdiness" coming from his flat.

At around 2am, O'Neill's girlfriend Keri McPhee then awoke to find him at the side of her bed and he claimed: "I've stabbed a guy."

He went on to admit the man he attacked was Mr Quail.

Prosecutor Jo McDonald 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 also later stated: "I don't want to go to jail."

The killer went on to text friend Stephen Coutts claiming it was an "emergency".

O'Neill then turned up at his door and told him: "I need to speak to you - something happened last night and I ended up killing somebody."

He was described as "calm" when he spoke to Mr Coutts.

O'Neill claimed he had stabbed Mr Quail "about ten times".

'I need to speak to you - something happened last night and I ended up killing somebody.'
Darren O'Neill to friend Stephen Coutts

A friend of Mr Quail made the grim discovery of his body when she turned up at his home and the front door was lying open.

Ms McDonald said: "She found Steven Quail lying on his back on the floor in the hall.

"She noted that he was covered in blood. There was extensive blood staining in the hall."

It was later discovered Mr Quail suffered 25 stab wounds. Some of the injuries suggested "severe force" may have been used.

Police initially spoke with O'Neill days later as they tried to find a suspect.

He lied he had been at home at the time but admitted he knew Mr Quail.

DNA later linked him to the killing, with officers also discovering the phone he used to text his friend Mr Coutts.

O'Neill had been due to stand trial but instead pleaded guilty to murder.

Judge Lady Scott deferred sentencing for reports until later this month.

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