Man jailed for life for stabbing 'soulmate' to death week before Christmas

Stacey Warnock was found dead at a property in Airdrie in December 2022.

Man jailed for life for stabbing ‘soulmate’ to death week before Christmas Police Scotland

A man who murdered his partner told police he had killed his “soulmate“.

John-Paul McLaughlan, 53, left Stacey Warnock with more than 50 injuries during a brutal knife attack at their home in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, in the week before Christmas 2022.

The 51-year-old’s body lay in a bath for days before colleagues of construction worker McLaughlan discovered her when they went to visit him.

McLaughlan appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday where he pleaded guilty to murder.

John-Paul McLaughlan, 53.Police Scotland

McLaughlan – who had a previous conviction for violence – was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars.

Prosecutor Lorraine Glancy KC narrated the details of the killing.

As she did so, McLaughlan sat in the dock with his hands over his ears for most of the hearing – sobbing at times.

The court heard the couple had initially started dating in 1998, split, but rekindled the relationship in 2010 and moved in together four years later.

Ms Glancy said there were “frequent arguments” between the pair.

They were last seen together on the night of December 16, 2022, when a supermarket delivery driver made a drop off.

A neighbour was aware of them being home that night.

She heard noises the next morning but it was quiet for the rest of the weekend and the woman thought the couple must have been out.

However, it was during this time, McLaughlan sent a workmate a series of “bizarre” messages.

In one he claimed: “Stacey is gone. She cannot handle it. She cannot move.”

Neighbours went to his home over that weekend to give him jump leads as he claimed to have an issue with his car.

McLaughlan was described as “unkempt and gaunt”.

Ms Glancy said: “Asked where Stacey Warnock was, he said she was inside sleeping.”

The messages continued to his building colleague.

Ms Glancy said they were “at times rambling”, but that he “indicated he had killed Stacey and had tried to kill himself”.

Two of his workmates then turned up at the house on December 20.

McLaughlan told them: “I need a lawyer. She is dead. She has been dead since Saturday.

“Do not phone the police until I get my defence sorted.”

The men entered the home and Ms Warnock was discovered dead in the bath.

Asked how he killed her, McLaughlan claimed it “did not matter”.

When held by police, he said: “What you cuffing me for? It was self defence.

“I did it. I used the same knife to hurt myself. It is in my bedside cabinet.

“She is still dead and I done it.”

He made further incriminating comments at the police station.

McLaughlan said: “I killed my soulmate. I have not hidden any evidence. The clothes it happened in are lying in the bedroom.

“I have nothing to hide.”

Ms Warnock had at least 58 injuries to her head, neck and body.

John Scullion KC, defending, said McLaughlan had “no recollection of the fatal attack”.

He added the killer claimed to have only a “fractured memory of an argument” in which Ms Warnock allegedly threw an iron at him.

Lord Doherty said the minimum sentence would have been 19 years, but for the guilty plea.

The judge told McLaughlan: “There is no escaping this was a brutal, merciless and sustained attack on your partner.”

The court was earlier told that Ms Warnock had been born in America and moved here with her mum when she was four.

Her father and step-sister remain in the USA.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code