An attacker who fatally stabbed a man in the neck during a street confrontation has been warned he faces a life sentence for the murder.
Ryan McCabe, 49, inflicted neck wounds to Liam Maloney, 30, during the assault in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh on May 5 last year.
Mr Maloney later died at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, in West Lothian, after contracting a thrombosis following emergency surgery on him.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the victim had sustained two stab wounds to his neck and underwent an operation, after a jugular vein was severed in the attack by the most serious injury inflicted by McCabe, which was about four inches deep.
McCabe had denied murdering the victim in the attack at the junction of Niddrie Marischal Grove and Niddrie Marischal Road, but was convicted of the offence by a majority of the jury at his trial.
After the verdict jurors heard that he was convicted of a further serious attack with a knife in 2020.
The trial judge said the previous conviction was “significant” and told him: “Over two years later you carried out the most serious crime.”
Lord Scott said: “You have been convicted by the jury of murder. There is only one sentence that I can pass for that, which is a sentence of life imprisonment.”
The judge said he could have sentenced McCabe, from Niddrie, on Thursday but wanted to take time to consider victim impact statements from the parents and sister of the deceased and to call for a background report on the murderer.
Lord Scott said he wanted that available to him before fixing the punishment part of a life sentence for McCabe, which is the minimum term he must serve in prison prior to becoming eligible to apply for parole.
The court heard that before the murder a “cheery” McCabe had turned up at a friend’s home before the men went out together.
Mr Maloney had cycled past them and shouted abuse at McCabe before stopping.
Witness Patrick Beatson said Mr Maloney had an axe and McCabe had told him: “Well do it then you fat c***.”
He said he shouted at them to behave but McCabe walked towards the other man.
The axe was swung and struck McCabe on the arm and he then swung at the murder victim with the knife in his possession.
Mr Maloney’s sister said she had seen an earlier incident where her brother was on his bike and arguing with McCabe, who threatened to stab him.
During the fatal attack McCabe had come towards her brother and she saw the knife and heard her brother say: “He has got me.” McCabe then ran off in the direction of his home.
Unemployed McCabe accepted in evidence that he had inflicted the major wound to the neck of Mr Maloney, who he had known for years, with a knife.
He claimed that prior to the attack Mr Maloney had talked about doing something to one of his daughters, which made him angry.
He told jurors: “I never threatened to stab him at all,” but he accepted when he later left his house he took a knife with him which he said was “a massive, massive regret on my behalf”.
McCabe claimed that he took the weapon to act as “a deterrent” and that he had no intention to use it.
Detective inspector Scott Roxburgh from the Major Investigation Team said: “Liam Maloney had a young family when his life was ended by the violent actions of Ryan McCabe.
“Our thoughts remain with his loved ones at this time.
“Violent incidents are completely unnecessary and unacceptable but are felt by the whole community. We will always act swiftly to deal with offenders to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”
McCabe is due to be sentenced at a later date.