Man jailed for 20 years after 'vicious and savage' Bo'ness murder

A man who murdered a disabled man in his West Lothian home by beating him and hitting him with a metal pole has been jailed for life.

Daniel Gauld, 25, repeatedly punched, kicked and battered Douglas Struthers, 62, during the fatal assault.

He had denied murdering Mr Struthers but was unanimously found guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Gauld was told he must serve a minimum of 20 years before he becomes eligible to seek parole.

The attack on Mr Struthers took place at his home at Barony Court, Bo'ness, on 14 September 2022.

Gauld was heard shouting "die, die, die" and his two-handed volley of punches to the victim's face was described as "like something out of Rocky".

Mr Struthers was so severely injured that he died three days later at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The judge, Lord Fairley, told Gauld he had carried out a "vicious, prolonged and savage attack" on the victim.

He said the assault was of such severity that two of Mr Struthers' teeth ended up inside his lungs.

Lord Fairley pointed out that there were a number of aggravating features to the case.

These included that the attack was unprovoked, Gauld was highly intoxicated at the time and the victim was a disabled man in his 60s.

'He wouldn't stop'

Witness Fiona Grigg told the court that she had visited Mr Struthers at his home and Gauld was there drinking cider and whisky.

Ms Grigg said Mr Struthers had "problems with his legs" and used a mobility scooter.

She said Gauld, of Bo'ness, became aggressive and challenged Mr Struthers to "a square go" before punching him in the face.

Ms Grigg told police: "Daniel started punching him to the face constantly. He used both hands. He wouldn't stop. It was like something out of Rocky.

"He just kept punching him, fist to face. He was punching him repeatedly. He couldn't get off the chair."

Ms Grigg made a 999 call, which was played during the trial. Neighbours also contacted emergency services.

Gauld began kicking his victim in the head. "He was booting him straight to the face. Daniel, by that point, was going mental," she said.

"He went and got the pole and went into the living room and started hitting Douglas on the head with the pole.

"I went on top of Douglas to defend him. With me lying on him I got hit with the pole," she said.

Police officers who arrived at the scene began carrying out chest compressions on Mr Struthers while they waited for paramedics and a critical care doctor to arrive.

Gauld, who admitted lying to police during an interview, claimed he got into a fight after the older man hit him on the hand with the pole.

He admitted he was angry and told the court "he hit me and I hit him back."