A man and woman have been jailed for the murder of mother-of-two Tracy Walker in Shetland.
Ross MacDougall, 32, and Dawn Smith, 29, were handed life sentences for murdering 40-year-old Ms Walker in Lerwick in July 2019.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the pair targeted Ms Walker because they needed money to buy drugs.
Lord Uist told MacDougall he would have to serve a minimum of 23 years before being eligible for parole.
His co-accused Smith was told she would have to serve at least 20 years and two months before any release from custody.
Lord Uist said: “You have both been convicted by the jury of the shocking and gruesome murder of Tracy Walker, an innocent 40-year-old woman in Lerwick on July 30 last year.
“In an attempt to rob her of money so that you could buy controlled drugs, you carried out a savage attack on her, which involved striking her with stones, manual compression of her neck and striking her repeatedly with a knife.
“The worst injury which she suffered, and which caused her death, was a 13-centimetre gaping incised wound – extending horizontally across her neck, completely transecting the right jugular vein and the right internal carotid artery.
“You, Ross Ian MacDougall, are now 32 years of age. You have a criminal record consisting of 10 separate court appearances. Your criminal record – particularly your conviction for assault to severe injury and danger of life and your conviction for this matter – show you are an evil man.”
Lord Uist then told Smith: “You Dawn Smith are now 29-years of age. You have a criminal record mainly for crimes of dishonesty consisting of 11 separate court appearances.
“You encouraged or instigated your co-accused to commit this murder and supplied him with a knife which he used. Your guilt is at least as great as his.”
The two accused were sent to prison on the 16th day of proceedings. They had denied murdering Ms Walker.
After the two were led to the cells, Lord Uist thanked jurors for their service and told them they had sat through a ‘rather harrowing’ trial.
It is thought to be only the third murder to have been committed in Shetland in the past 50 years.
Detective ispector Stewart Andrew, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team, said on Thursday he hoped the convictions would give Ms Walker’s family “some sense of justice”.
He said: “This was a brutal attack and one that has left Tracy’s family absolutely devastated.
“Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time and I would like to thank the public for coming forward and assisting with our investigation.”
Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch, Shetland area commander, also thanked the local community.
He said: “This was a harrowing ordeal for Tracy’s family, her friends and those who knew her and my thoughts are with them as they continue to come to terms with what happened.
“I would like to thank people from the local community for their quick actions in contacting emergency services during what I’m sure must have been a harrowing ordeal. What happened that day has had a huge impact on many families and people, the effect of which will continue for some time to come.
“Fortunately, this kind of crime is rare on Shetland and officers will continue to work to keep everyone in our communities safe. But this conviction should send a clear message that violence like this has no place in our society and will not be tolerated.”
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