Man murdered friend by stabbing him 67 times in ‘frenzied attack’

Patrick Columb stabbed Dean Ritchie to death in a 'frenzied attack' at the victim's flat in June 2021.

Man murdered friend by stabbing him 67 times in ‘frenzied attack’ SNS Group

A man who murdered his friend in a frenzied knife attack has been jailed.

Patrick Columb, 26, was told he will serve 15 years in jail before he can seek parole after inflicting 67 stab wounds on Dean Ritchie.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Columb took a taxi after the fatal attack to buy drugs and told an acquaintance he stabbed the victim over 50 times and “slit his jugular”.

Advocate depute Chris McKenna said: “He said he had stabbed him to the back of the neck, then the side and the front. The accused laughed after saying this.”

Defence solicitor advocate James Keegan QC said: “It would appear that once started the accused could not stop, which is a terrible situation.”

A judge told Columb: “You have plead guilty to the murder of Dean Ritchie stabbing him repeatedly. You inflicted a total of 67 wounds in a frenzied attack, focused particularly on his head and neck.”

Lady Carmichael said at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You were under the influence of substances at the time.” 

The judge said that Columb would have faced a minimum jail term of 18 years for the murder, but for his early guilty plea.

Columb admitted murdering Mr Ritchie, 35, in a knife attack at the victim’s home at Mosside Drive, Blackburn, in West Lothian, between June 11 and 12 this year.

Mr McKenna said: “The accused and the deceased were known to each other and were considered friends.”

The victim’s mother had met her son in Blackburn at about 1pm on June 11 when he told her that Columb stayed at his flat the previous night and was still there sleeping.

The prosecutor said: “The deceased said that he was going back home to get the accused out.”

Mr Ritchie was later at home with Columb and his girlfriend when Columb started acting in a “weird manner”.

Mr McKenna said: “Then, for no apparent reason, he stabbed the deceased in the leg with a knife causing him to fall to the floor. He then went on to stab him repeatedly in the head, neck and body.”

Columb then left and went to a relative’s address before getting a taxi. During the journey he told the driver: “Somebody’s been murdered there.”

After arriving at his destination a neighbour who had learned of the stabbing through social media asked Columb: “What have you done? You’ve killed Bock. You’ve stabbed him seven times.” 

Columb answered: “No man, it was more like 55 times.”

Police found Mr Ritchie in a bedroom in his flat with significant blood staining on the bed, carpet and walls. The victim was lying on the floor covered by a duvet.

Officers who went to Columb’s home noticed blood on the pathway to the house and forced entry. Columb was found on a bed heavily under the influence.

The deceased was found to have suffered neck wounds that cut a carotid artery and hit the jugular vein. He also sustained a knife blow to the chest which went right through the sternum which required severe force.

Mr Ritchie, who died from stab wounds to the head and neck, was also found to have extensive defensive injuries.

Mr Keegan said: “There is no explanation as to why this happened, no clear explanation, except to say some kind of argument developed.”
He said of Columb: “He has had a terrible life, but his terrible life does not provide an excuse for his behaviour. The accused has been abusing drugs since a young age.”   

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