Killer murdered disabled man while friend tried to shield him from blows

Daniel Gauld repeatedly hit his victim during a 'horrific attack' in Bo'ness.

Killer murdered disabled Bo’ness man while friend tried to shield him from blows Police Scotland

A killer who murdered a disabled man in his home as a woman tried to shield the victim from the “horrific attack” has been jailed for life.

Daniel Gauld repeatedly punched, kicked and battered Douglas Struthers with a metal pole during the fatal assault.

He had denied murdering Mr Struthers in the attack at the victim’s home at Barony Court, Bo’ness, in West Lothian on September 14, 2022, but was unanimously found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The 62-year-old victim was so severely injured that he died three days later at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A judge told Gauld: “You carried out a vicious, prolonged and savage attack on Douglas Struthers within his home.”

Lord Fairley said the assault was of such severity that two of the victim’s teeth ended up inside his lungs.

He pointed out that there were a number of aggravating features to the case, including the attack was unprovoked, Gauld was highly intoxicated at the time and the victim was a disabled man in his 60s.

The judge ordered that Gauld, formerly of Jessfield Place, Bo’ness, should serve a minimum of 20 years imprisonment before he becomes eligible to seek parole.

The court heard that a female friend had visited Mr Struthers at his home and Gauld was there drinking cider and whisky.

She said Gauld became aggressive and challenged the seated older man to a fight before punching him in the face.

The woman said: “He just kept punching him, fist to face. He was punching him repeatedly.  He couldn’t get off the chair.”

The witness made a 999 call for help which was played during the trial. Neighbours also contacted emergency services.

Gauld began kicking his victim in the head.

“He was booting him straight to the face. Daniel by that point was going mental,” the witness said.

“He went and got the pole and went into the living room and started hitting Douglas on the head with the pole,” she said.

“I went on top of Douglas to defend him. With me lying on him, I got hit with the pole,” she said.

Police officers who arrived at the scene began carrying out chest compressions on the victim while they waited for paramedics and a critical care doctor to arrive.

Gauld, who admitted lying to police during an interview, claimed that he got into a fight with his victim after the older man hit him on the hand with the pole. He admitted he was angry and told the court, “He hit me and I hit him back.”

Detective inspector Will Harley, senior investigating officer, said: “This was a particularly horrific attack by Gauld on a man who was a stranger to him.

“The family of Mr Struthers and a large number of people in the local community were affected by the extent of violence used by Gauld and our thoughts are with them all.

“I would like to thank the public for their assistance during our investigation. 

“Gauld will now face the consequences of his actions and this conviction shows that we will use all the tools we have to investigate and bring to justice those committing such brutal crimes.”

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