Killer named after Hollywood villain gunned down childhood friend

James Ferguson, also known as Garland Greene, handed life sentence for the murder of Paul Cairns in Ayrshire.

Killer named after Hollywood villain gunned down childhood friend Police Scotland
James Ferguson was jailed for life at the High Court in Glasgow.

An assassin who changed his name to that of a deranged killer from a Hollywood film has been jailed for life for blasting a man to death in his own home.

Garland Greene, 44, shot childhood friend Paul Cairns in the chest after calmly walking into the house in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, on May 24 last year.

Mr Cairns, 42, was gunned down in front of his partner Victoria Woods, who was Greene’s cousin.

Ms Woods, 46, passed away before the trial began – but her earlier recorded testimony played a crucial role in snaring Greene as she easily recognised him despite being masked.

Greene was jailed on Monday for a minimum 22 years for what a judge described as a “cold blooded killing”.

He had initially appeared in the dock days after the murder under his birth name James Ferguson.

But by the time he stood trial at the High Court in Glasgow he was known as Garland Greene – a fictional killer from the film Con Air played by Steve Buscemi.

Jurors heard how Greene turned up at the house wearing blue overalls, a white face mask and a black beanie hat.

A decorator painting the couple’s home had answered the door to him.

Mr Cairns had been living with Ms Woods at the time due to her health problems. She recalled the horror killing in her evidence played to the court.

Ms Woods stated: “He had a gun. I screamed at him and said, ‘I am ill. Get out my f***ing room’. I just froze when he came in, I just froze.

“He said to Paul, ‘you were f***ing warned’. Paul said ‘no’ and he shot him. I panicked, Paul must have flipped over, he was lying on his front.

“I pulled Paul over. He had shot him in the chest.”

Ms Woods said she knew Greene was responsible, adding: “He is my cousin. I know his eyes, his voice and his build.”

She also stated Greene and her partner had been friends since they were aged four.

Attempts were made to save Mr Cairns, but he never survived.

Ms Woods’ daughter Demi, 27, later told jurors how she was made aware of an incident at her mum’s house by someone on social media.

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She then received text messages from Greene later that day as well as a missed call.

She replied: “I remember him saying, ‘what’s happening at your mum’s?’.

“I think folk had been on the phone. I said to him if he knew anything about this and he said, ‘it must have been Liverpool ones’.

“I did not know anything had happened to Paul at this point.”

It emerged Greene had threatened a man to take him to Ardrossan on the day of the murder and that he would get others to shoot him if he did not.

Greene denied the killing but other evidence also linked him to the crime, including the dumped shotgun, as well as bullets being found.

Prosecutor Alan Cameron described the case against Greene as “overwhelming”.

After the guilty verdict, Mr Cameron said Greene had previously been jailed for four years at the high court for violence.

Laura Anne Radcliffe, defending, told the court: “He is aware there is only one sentence. I am bound by his initial instructions, which is one of denial.”

Lord Burns jailed Greene, of Kilwinning, Ayrshire, for life.

The judge said: “This is a crime which plainly was a carefully planned shooting with a shotgun and ammunition for the purposes of killing Paul Cairns in his own home.

“You discharged the gun at point blank range. This was a pre-meditated and cold blooded killing.

“Your responsibility for the murder has been established to the satisfaction of the jury on the most clearest of evidence.”

Detective chief inspector John Stewart, of Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, said: “Our thoughts a very much with Paul’s family and friends who at last have justice for what happened to him.

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“This was a complex inquiry and Ferguson went to great lengths to cover his tracks and conceal his identity. This was a deliberate and callous attack on a man who should have been safe in his own home, who was known to his killer and was indeed his friend.”