Man stabbed neighbour to death after row over homes escalated

Jorgo Pano stabbed Dave Newton in the neck after an argument about their homes escalated in March 2021.

Airdrie murder: Jorgo Pano stabbed Dave Newton to death on McAllister Avenue Police ScotlandiStock

A man stabbed his neighbour to death after a row about their homes descended into violence.

Jorgo Pano had a long-running disagreement over “planning permission, driveways and car parking” with Dave Newton and his family.

Violence was sparked when Pano, 44, hurled paint over his fence onto the Newtons’ car late at night.

A fight then broke out on the afternoon of March 7 last year in the normally quiet McAllister Avenue in Airdrie, Lanarkshire where the families lived.

Pano went on to stab Mr Newton, 48, in the neck after rushing into his home to grab a blade.

Mr Newton died three days later in hospital.

Pano – a first offender – insisted what happened had been an “accident”.

However jurors found him guilty of murder on Friday as he was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 16 years behind bars.

A judge at the High Court in Glasgow stated the killing had been a “disaster” for everyone concerned.

Greek/Albanian Pano moved to the street with his wife Fiona and family around eight years ago.

The trial heard how there had been “disputes” between himself and the Newtons, who lived next door.

His QC Iain McSporran asked Pano: “The falling out over planning permission and car parking and the driveway never got as serious as this, did it?”

He replied: “No, it did not. I am devastated.”

In the hours before the murder, Pano was spotted throwing paint at the Newton’s car which damaged the vehicle.

Later on the Sunday afternoon, Pano was out doing gardening work when he was confronted by Mr Newton’s son-in-law Lee Harris about what happened.

The men started fighting and Pano smacked Lee with a spade. Gravel was also chucked.

Mr Newton and his wife Angela came out to the street and other neighbours joined to try and calm matters.

Pano went on to spit in Ms Newton’s face.

The row seemed to end and Lee headed back to the Newtons.

But, he then spotted Pano racing out his front door brandishing a knife.

Jurors watched the incident which was captured on CCTV.

Lee recalled: “He then ran into the middle of the road in the direction of Dave and the other neighbour Billy McDonald.

“He then swung the knife in a downward motion in an attempt to inflict damage on Dave.

“He missed and Billy was trying to pull him away. The neighbour’s wife was out screaming: ‘no, stop’.

“The neighbour (Pano) then put the knife in his left hand, swung over the top of Billy’s head and hit Dave stabbing him in the neck.

“Dave immediately put his hands there. He got help back to the house.

“I was shouting on neighbours to phone an ambulance.”

Prosecutor David Dickson asked the witness: “How did he (Pano) appear when he came out?”

Lee said: “In a blind rage. He came out running.”

The Newtons’ other neighbour Stephen Trainor rushed to Mr Newton’s aid.

He told the jury: “I seen Dave on his knees next to the front door. He was in shock, panting for breath, chalk white.

“He seemed traumatised by the whole episode. I was saying: ‘It’s alright, big man.”

Advocate depute Mr Dickson said: “Did he speak back to you?”

The witness replied: “Not a word.”

Mr Newton passed away on March 10 at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Pano – who worked as an air condition engineer – accepted at trial he had fatally struck his neighbour.

But, he claimed to have only got a knife as he feared for himself and his then-pregnant wife.

This was despite one witness stating Mr Newton was “not a violent man”.

Pano said he had fallen forward with the knife in his hand and hit Mr Newton.

His QC Mr McSporran asked: “Are you saying it happened by accident?”

Pano replied: “Yes.”

As well as murder, Pano was also guilty of assaulting Lee and had previously admitted spitting at Ms Newton.

Members of Mr Newton’s family sobbed and hugged each other as the verdicts were announced.

It emerged Ms Newton had penned an emotional victim impact statement to the court on the impact of the death.

No details were read in open court.

But, Mr McSporran said: “I do not think I have read a more moving and eloquent account.”

Sentencing, Lord Beckett also praised the “brave and selfless efforts” of other neighbours to try and protect Mr Newton.

The judge told Pano: “The bad relations with your neighbours over many years presents no justification.

“You contributed significantly to the difficulties between the two families.

“You selected the largest knife from your home and charged at him determinedly.”

After Pano was led to the cells, the judge spoke to jurors.

He said: “It is a tragedy that reaches wide in this case. It is just a disaster for all concerned.

“But, that was a situation brought by Mr Pano when he brought out a knife for what had been a pretty low-level incident.”

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