Man admits stabbing retired doctor to death in his home

Alan Massie killed 90-year-old William Yule at his home in Forfar on December 6 2022.

Man admits beating and stabbing retired doctor to death in his Forfar home STV News

A serial criminal has admitted murdering a 90-year-old retired doctor in Angus.

Alan Massie, 32, killed retired GP William Yule in his home in Forfar, Angus, on December 6, 2022.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Massie stabbed Dr Yule twice in the neck and once in the abdomen.

Judge Lord Fairley heard that Massie, who has several previous convictions for housebreaking, had earlier spent the day going into properties in the town and stealing items.

He had gone into Dr Yule’s house intending to steal from him but ended up taking his life.

Police detained him shortly afterwards and the court was told how he made incriminating statements about what he had done to Dr Yule.

In the moments before Lord Fairley imposed a life sentence on Massie, Mr Jessop told the court about how the accused had several previous convictions for theft by housebreaking, knife possession and assault.

After hearing defence advocate Mark Stewart KC explain that his client wanted to apologise for his actions, Lord Fairley jailed Massie for life.

He told him he’d have to serve a minimum of 20 years before he will be eligible for parole.

Passing sentence, Lord Fairley said: “It is clear to me that Dr Yule was a much-loved father and grandfather who contributed to his community and to society in his role as a general practitioner until his retirement in 2015.

“He was a vulnerable man in his 90s and he should have been able to live in peace and safety.

“But by your actions, you shattered the peace and safety that Dr Yule was entitled to.

“The level of evil of your actions is almost beyond comprehension.

“Your incarceration will make a substantial improvement to our society.

“Unlike Dr Yule, you have contributed little or nothing to society.”

“Your incarceration after today for a very long time can only be a positive for society.”

Massie, a prisoner of HMP Perth, pleaded guilty to charges of murder, housebreaking and theft, and entering into a home uninvited and conducting himself in a disorderly manner.

Mr Jessop told the court that in December 2022, Massie was living in homeless accommodation in Arbroath and was regularly abusing cannabis and Diazepam.

In August 2022, he appeared in private at Dundee Sheriff Court on knife possession charge and had been given bail.

In October 2022, police detained him over allegations of theft by shoplifting and assault and he was released on an undertaking to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on February 2 2023.

Mr Jessop described Massie’s criminal record as “lengthy.”

The prosecutor said that in the early hours of December 5, 2022, Massie travelled from Arbroath to Forfar and was seen acting suspiciously in the town’s Tesco.

At around 3.45am on December 6, a man called Bradley Archibald was woken up by Massie standing in the hallway of his home in the town’s Academy Street.

Mr Jessop told the court he challenged the accused who stated that he had to come into the house to call the police because he had heard a woman screaming.

Mr Archibald accompanied Massie outside. But later his sister Holly noticed that her car keys were missing.

At around 4.30am, Massie went to the home of a 19-year-old woman in Forfar. She was “scared” by the sight of Massie who later left.

The court heard she woke her dad and they both went outside looking for Massie.

They found him and he shouted, “I’ll put a bullet in your head” and “I’ll kill your kids”.

A neighbour later checked their CCTV and found an image of the accused. He could be heard shouting: “I’ll set your house on fire so you’re better off staying in your bed.”

Mr Jessop said Massie could be heard shouting threats to stab residents and their children.

Later in the morning, Dr Yule was sitting at home in the town’s Hillside Road. The court heard that his carer arrived at about 9am and left between 9.10am and 9.30am.

Mr Jessop said: “Mr Yule appeared to be in good spirits and did not have any injuries.”

Massie then came to the house and police believe he started assaulting Dr Yule at about 12.05pm in his kitchen.

Mr Jessop added: “At some stage, he came across Mr Yule and assaulted him by inflicting blunt force injuries to his head, neck and body and repeatedly striking him on the head, neck and body with a knife or knives.

“It is unclear how long this assault endured. During his assault upon the deceased, the cooker appears to have fallen on top of the deceased causing significant blunt force injuries.”

Mr Jessop said during the assault, a call was made to Dr Yule’s community alarm unit. A social care officer noticed the call had been made by the button being pressed on a wrist pendant.

The social care officer then spoke to the accused. He said he was Dr Yule’s grandson and that the call had been made in error.

The accused told her: “He’s ok now sweetheart.”

Mr Jessop added: “The call is ended however it continues to record. Groaning and banging along with the sound of someone speaking can be heard.”

The court heard that at 1pm, a cleaner arrived at the house to find Massie standing in the driveway. He told her he was Dr Yule’s grandson.

Mr Jessop added: “She knew this was untrue as she knew his only grandson is 15 years old.”

The court heard how she went into the house and found it had been “ransacked” and in a state of disrepair.

Mr Jessop said she went into the kitchen and found Dr Yule.

Mr Jessop added: “She saw William lying on his back in the corner of the kitchen. The cooker had been pulled out and was lying next to William.

“She saw William had blood on his hands and around his head. He had a blue bedsheet covering his waist and legs.

“She went back outside and found the male had left and she called 999.

“At the 999 operator’s request she returned to the kitchen to check on his condition.

“It was clear that he was dead.”

Police officers were then called to the scene as well as an ambulance. Dr Yule was pronounced dead at 1.17pm.

Massie was detained shortly afterwards.

When he was stopped Massie told officers: “What now, I can’t catch a break.”

He also told them: “I’ve never done anything like that in my f*****g life. it’s uncharacteristic for me to do anything like that. I want to speak to my lawyer before I speak to anybody.”

Medics carried out a post-mortem of Dr Yule and concluded that the cause of death was a combination of stab wounds to his neck and blunt force injuries. There were signs of injuries sustained by Dr Yule which suggested he tried to “evade restraint”.

Detectives recovered a knife from a rucksack being carried by Massie and found Dr Yule’s blood on it.

Mr Jessop spoke of Dr Yule’s personal life in court. He said: “He was widowed and had two daughters one of whom had passed away.

“He is survived by his 53-year-old daughter who has a son who is aged 15 and a daughter who is aged 22. He was qualified as a medical doctor and had retired from general practice in 1991.

“He had lived alone in the house since the death of his wife in 2015. He suffered a stroke in 2003 which affected his mobility and his health was deteriorating with age.”

Mr Stewart didn’t offer any mitigation but told the court that his client “apologises” to the family of Dr Yule. He also said that his client had been addicted to drugs.

He added: “There is nothing that can be said that offers any explanation for what he has done or provides any comfort to the family.

“He apologises, for what it’s worth.”

Lord Fairley told Massie, who sat in the dock between two security officers, that he would have received a 24-year-long minimum term if he hadn’t pleaded guilty.

Lord Fairley also told him that there was no guarantee that he would be automatically released from custody after he has served 20 years.

The judge told Massie that he would only be released once the parole board are satisfied that he no longer poses a threat to public safety.

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