Man committed murder just weeks after being freed from jail

Gerard McGinlay handed life sentence for the 'senseless murder' of Peter McElroy in Airdrie last year.

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A man who committed murder in broad daylight just weeks after being freed from jail has been given a life sentence.

Gerard McGinlay, 39, knifed Peter McElroy during an attack in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, on April 12 last year.

A passing taxi driver rushed to help the 45-year-old victim, but he never survived.

McGinlay was convicted in July of the lockdown murder following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was ordered to do 17 years of his sentence behind bars.

Judge Lord Matthews told McGinlay that he committed a “senseless murder”.

The judge added: “The evidence showed that he (Mr McElroy) was involved in an argument with your former co-accused but, for reasons best known to yourself, you armed yourself with a knife, left the flat you were in, and, for no reason, stabbed him to the heart, causing his death.

“Your evidence that he produced a knife and that the blow you struck was effectively an accident while you were defending yourself was rejected by the jury.

“No sentence I can pass can make up for the loss sustained by Mr McElroy’s family and friends and it will be a long time before they will be able to come to terms with what happened, if ever.

“Nonetheless, pass sentence I must and as you know that sentence must be imprisonment for life.”

Prosecutor Greg Farrell had previously told jurors the killer had a history of violence including assaults and possession of an offensive weapon.

McGinlay had been freed from his last prison stint on March 20 – around a fortnight before the murder.

Cabbie Joseph Dalziel told the trial how he had been walking home from a shift around 4pm when he could hear shouting near Bell Street, Airdrie.

He then spotted five men including McGinlay and Mr McElroy.

The witness said Mr McElroy was trying to “walk away”. Mr Dalziel recalled McGinlay throwing what he thought were punches at the victim, but then clocked a knife.

He told jurors: “I saw the two swipes…I then heard: ‘Ah, you have stabbed me’.”

McGinlay was said to have replied: “There you go…lying again.”

The court heard McGinlay and others then “casually” walked off, leaving a stricken Mr McElroy.

Mr Dalziel immediately raced over to the blood-soaked victim and shouted for help.

He told the trial: “I was saying to him: ‘Be still, you are going to be alright’. However, he had a worried look in his eye. He never said or whispered anything.”

The taxi driver stayed with him until mercy crews arrived.

But, the court heard Mr McElroy effectively “died in front of” Mr Dalziel.

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