Sam Atkins jailed for life for Edinburgh knife attack murder and assaulting ex-partner

A man who assaulted his ex-partner and murdered her friend has been jailed for life, with a minimum prison term of 18 years.

Sam Atkins, 29, stabbed Charles Paul, 69, at least 22 times during the brutal attack at a flat in Edinburgh in March last year.

A court heard Mr Paul was found to have bruising, fractures and several stab wounds on his neck and head. He was also stabbed elsewhere on his body.

Armed with a knife in each hand, Atkins also struck his 36-year-old ex on the arms, chest, knee, legs and chin. The woman suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was treated in hospital.

A police chief branded the killer's actions "despicable and callous", while Judge Lord Clark said: "There is no sentence available to me which can alleviate the impact of your conduct on your former partner or the friends or family of the deceased."

Atkins first pounced on his ex on 21 March 2023.

During that attack he forced her head underwater in a bath, making her think she was going to drown.

When she escaped into a bedroom, Atkins sat on top of her, compressed her neck with his arm and punched her.

Atkins then carried out the second assault on his ex and murdered Mr Paul after sneaking into the woman's flat a few days later on 25 March 2023.

Lord Clark told Atkins: "From the messages sent to the first complainer shortly after the first offence, you recognised the terrible nature of your behaviour, including that it was potentially psychotic and involved a complete lack of self-control.

"But the even more devastating second and third offences were carried out by you a few days later."

Atkins was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday after previously pleading guilty to murder and assault.

He was jailed for life, with a minimum of 18 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

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The judge acknowledged Atkins' mental health issues and highlighted the criminal justice social work report in which the killer had "expressed remorse" and claimed he did "not recognise" who he was at the time of the offences.

Lord Clark stated: "It notes that you were taking drink and drugs and that you claim to have no recollection of the second and third offences, or where you got the weapons from."

The judge added: "You have said that, in prison, you are now getting the help you need."

Police Scotland said it welcomed the prison sentence and hoped it brought closure for Mr Paul's family.

Detective Chief Inspector George Calder added: "These were despicable and callous acts carried out by Atkins, who showed an utter disregard for the life of Charles Paul or for the woman he seriously assaulted."