Killer murdered man who tried to stop him attacking ex-girlfriend

Sam Atkins stabbed Charles Paul, 69, more than 22 times at the flat in Granton Crescent in Edinburgh on March 25 last year.

Killer murdered man who tried to stop him attacking ex-girlfriend in Edinburgh Police Scotland

A killer who murdered a man trying to stop him attacking his ex-partner has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Sam Atkins stabbed Charles Paul, 69, more than 22 times at the flat in Granton Crescent in Edinburgh on March 25 last year.

The High Court in Glasgow was told Atkins had no memory of the killing.

The attack happened after the 29-year-old’s girlfriend broke up with him.

He previously pleaded guilty to murder as well as two charges of assaulting his 36-year-old ex to the danger of her life.

The pair began dating in January 2022 before he became angry and possessive.

Charles Paul.

Towards the end of 2022, she wanted to break up with him. Prosecutor Kath Harper said Atkins “did not take this well” but was able to convince the woman to stay.

On March 21, they were at a neighbour’s home when he became annoyed that she did not remember the date his dad had passed away.

They went back to her flat when Atkins “erupted”.

This included shoving her into the bathroom and initially standing against the door.

Ms Harper told the court: “The bath was full of water. He grabbed the back of her head and forced it under, holding her there.

“He lifted her head out and then forced her back under. He repeated this a few times and she thought she was going to drown.”

The woman managed to flee from the bathroom, but he grabbed her and starting choking her. He punched her ten times before plunging her head again in the bath.

She only managed to escape after he had later fallen asleep.

He sent a text that said: “I need help and I need it urgently before I hurt someone else or myself preferably.”

On the morning of the murder, the woman messaged Atkins to say his “stuff” would be left outside her home.

Atkins made the hour-long walk to her home.

Charles Paul meantime had been at Kelso races that day before returning to Edinburgh.

The pensioner knew the woman through her father. Mr Paul had promised the man that he would look after his daughter before he passed away.

He called the woman that night stating he was going to come round to celebrate winning a few bets.

The night porter at the city’s Bruntsfield Hotel was dropped off by taxi around 10.15pm.

The woman met him in the street and they returned to her flat.

She then went to charge her phone – but found Atkins’ mobile was already plugged in.

Ms Harper: “She became frightened when she realised that Atkins must be in the flat.

“She ran to the hall where she saw him standing at the front door removing her keys.

“He was holding two knives – one in each hand – and started swinging them at her.”

The woman tried to grab his arms, but she ended up being repeatedly struck with the blades.

She managed to shut herself in a bedroom with Atkins trying to kick his way in.

He used tools to remove the door handle in a bid to enter.

“He was shouting this was all her fault because she had left him and that he loved her,” Ms Harper said.

The woman managed to dial 999 and hysterically begged for help during the call.

“He had already stabbed me and I do not know if he has stabbed my mate or not,” she told the emergency call handler.

The court was told Mr Paul could be heard “trying to reason” with Atkins urging him to “calm down”.

Ms Harper said: “Things then became quiet and Atkins shouted through the door that he had ‘knocked Charlie out’.”

Police arrived as Atkins jumped out of the second floor window.

Officers found Mr Paul not breathing having suffered at least 22 stab wounds as well as other injuries – including fractures.

Atkins was traced – with the help of a police dog – to near where the murder happened.

The court heard how Mr Paul was described as a “kind and gentle man” by those who knew him.

Ronnie Renucci KC, defending, said an “apologetic” Atkins had been under the influence at the time of the killing.

The advocate added: “He has absolutely no memory of the event.

“He has had difficulty accepting what he had done. He does not recognise the person who committed these offences.”

Lord Clark had previously described the murder as “an act of appalling brutality”.

The judge told Atkins: “You are sentenced to life imprisonment.

“After the (18 year) punishment part ends, it will be up to the Parole Board whether and when you will be released.”

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