A dad-of-two has been convicted of murdering his best friend by bludgeoning him with a dumbbell.
The attack by Kyle McAuley, 30, on dad-of-three Kevin McCluskey took place in the early hours of March 24 at a flat in Greenock, Inverclyde.
Mr McCluskey, 28, was smashed on the back of the head by McAuley and when he fell onto a bed he was hit repeatedly by the weapon.
As Mr McCluskey lay on his back on the bed – dead or dying – McAuley took a photograph of him and sent it to his then girlfriend.
Fifty minutes later after moving Mr McCluskey’s body onto the floor of the bedroom, McAuley took another photo and sent it to his former partner.
This photograph showed Mr McCluskey’s face covered in blood and with horrific injuries.
At 5.40am, McAuley made a 999 call claiming he came home from work to find a stranger lying dead or dying at the front door of his flat.
During the call to the emergency services, McAuley could be heard laughing.
When police arrived at McAuley’s flat in Nelson Street, Mr McCluskey’s body had again been moved.
McAuley initially claimed he didn’t know Mr McCluskey, but later told police that he was acting in self-defence as his friend came at him with a knife.
He told the jury: “He said he was going to kill me. He was going nuts. He was right in my face, pushing his head against my face. I was scared.”
But, McAuley admitted while giving evidence that he had already punched Mr McCluskey on the head and smashed him once over the head with the dumbbell before he claimed he saw a knife in his friend’s hand.
Mr McCluskey suffered a fractured skull, smashed cheekbones, jaw and nose and bruising to the brain.
Former soldier McAuley, who served in Afghanistan in the Scots Guards, had no injuries.
Hours earlier, CCTV footage showed the two friends play fighting and laughing and joking in a Greenock pub during a night out.
No explanation was given by McAuley for why he launched a frenzied attack on his friend in the early hours of the next morning.
He claimed his friend was the aggressor and he was fighting for his life, but the jury did not believe him.
On Monday at the High Court in Glasgow, McAuley was convicted of murdering Mr McCluskey, then taking photographs of his body and sending them to his then girlfriend and his ex-partner and attempting to pervert the course of justice by moving Mr McCluskey’s body and placing a knife near it.
Judge Lord Mulholland told McAuley: “You have been convicted of a brutal murder involving repeatedly striking a man with a dumbbell.
“You then sent photos of the body of the man – dead or dying – to your girlfriend and ex-girlfriend and then moved the body and a knife.”
The judge added: “The punishment part and a life sentence will be imposed at the High Court in Edinburgh on January 28.”