‘Jealous’ boyfriend jailed for frenzied knife murder

Keith Rizzo stabbed Neomi Smith 32 times after seeing her dance with another man in a pub.

‘Jealous’ boyfriend jailed for frenzied knife murder

A “jealous” killer who stabbed his girlfriend 32 times has been jailed for at least 22 years.

Keith Rizzo, 23, attacked Neomi Smith shortly after he spotted her dancing with another man in a pub.

Ms Smith was also throttled and suffered multiple blunt-force injuries during the attack at her flat in Brechin, Angus, last June 9.

Rizzo later lied that the 23 year-old care worker had been brutally set upon by two mystery attackers who she apparently owed cash to.

The farm worker was given a life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday having been convicted of murder last month.

Lady Rae branded Rizzo – who appeared via video link from prison – a “jealous and possessive young man”.

She added: “Only you can reveal the precise series of events.

‘What is now known is that you carried out a savage, vicious and prolonged attack on a defenceless young woman in the kitchen of the flat you shared with her.’

Lady Rae

“What is now known is that you carried out a savage, vicious and prolonged attack on a defenceless young woman in the kitchen of the flat you shared with her.”

The judge said “what a price” Ms Smith had paid for earlier trying to “enjoy herself” at the pub.

Lady Rae went on to describe Rizzo’s lies as a “most fanciful account”.

She told him: “All of this showed a callous attitude of someone who has done his utmost to avoid taking responsibility for this brutal crime.”

Jurors heard the couple had got together earlier in 2019. 

Rizzo – who already had a domestic abuse conviction in connection with an ex – was violent to his girlfriend shortly into the relationship.

Weeks before the killing, Ms Smith – originally from Aberdeen – told a friend how Rizzo had choked her until she passed out.

He later had a blazing row with his partner at her flat, smashing a mirrored wardrobe door and then hurling his iPhone at her.

A disorientated Ms Smith was eventually discovered in her stairwell with a large bump on her head.

The trial heard heard how the pair were then at Brechin’s Hudson’s Bar the night before the murder.

It was there Rizzo lost the plot and sent a table of drinks crashing.

His friend Cameron Saunders recalled how Rizzo stormed out the pub after seeing Ms Smith dancing with another man.

Mr Saunders added: “They were bumping bums. They were dancing away for a while when Keith said ‘that’s enough’.”

Rizzo later claimed his girlfriend had been “provocative” and had “embarrassed” him

Ms Smith was left in tears and was heard stating: “This is what I have to put up with.”

She confided in her friend Kayleigh Cameron how she had been suffering at the hands of Rizzo.

Ms Cameron then recalled her final conversation with her.

The witness: “I asked her if she was going to be safe. She replied ‘Yes’.

“She told me that she would lock the door and would keep her key in, so he could not use his to gain access.”

But, the trial instead heard how Rizzo stomped back from the pub, booted his way into the flat before carrying out the horrific killing.

He choked Ms Smith, used two knives to stab her 32 times and also left her pummelled with the same amount of blunt force injuries.

Rizzo soon spun a web of lies to cover up what happened.

He first raced to Ms Smith’s neighbour claiming she had been arguing with “someone” while he was in the shower.

Stephen Alexander dialled 999 and then recalled the bloodbath as Ms Smith was found stricken in her kitchen.

Mr Alexander told jurors: “I saw a scene of carnage. There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.

“It looked as though a battle had taken place. There was bottles of sauce, fruit and vegetables amongst the broken glass.

He gave Ms Smith CPR before emergency crews arrived.

Rizzo’s mum Frances then visited her son in Perth prison week later while he was on remand.

He gave a bizarre account of how two men took turns to stab Ms Smith after the couple returned home.

Rizzo said he had pleaded with the pair to empty his bank account if they were owed money.

He insisted the mystery pair killed Ms Smith, adding: “This is not the first time we have done this.”

The trial, heard, however there was no sign on CCTV of the so-called attackers.

In his speech to the jury, prosecutor Duncan McPhie branded the story “far fetched” and “incredible”.

Donald Findlay QC, defending, told the court: “He does not accept playing any part in the death of this young lady.”

Following the sentencing Ms Smith’s family said:  “As a family we are totally devastated at losing Neomi, her character will always remain with us all, her smile would light up a room. 

“The events from the 9th June 2019, saw Neomi’s personality shine through, she was the life and soul of a party.  

‘No sentence could be long enough for this vile person.’

Family of Neomi Smith

“So for her to be brutally killed at the hands of Keith Rizzo has devastated us all, he never even knew her given the short period of time they were together.

“No sentence could be long enough for this vile person.

“We would like to thank the Police and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for their hard work in bringing Keith Rizzo to justice. 

“We ask now that we have some personal time to reflect on these last ten months in private.”

Detective Inspector Ross Fitzgerald said : “Our thoughts are still very much with Neomi’s family and friends during what is a really difficult time for them. 

“The loss of their daughter, sister and friend has been agonising for them.

“This conviction will not in any way compensate for their loss, but Rizzo will now have to face the consequences for his horrific actions.”

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