A MURDERER who stabbed a lawyer to death in Bonhill in 1992 has been handed a further jail term after he was caught in public in Alexandria with a Stanley knife.

Alexander Somerville tried to hide the red-handled blade from police officers who were called out to concerns over an “extremely intoxicated man” repeatedly falling over in the street.

Somerville had been released on licence after being handed a life sentence for the murder of Gerald Friel in Redburn 27 years ago.

A previous court hearing in March was told that police had found the 45-year-old standing outside his home in Raglan Street at 5.20am on January 30.

The officers asked him if he was okay, and Somerville told them he couldn’t find his house keys.

While searching his front jacket for the keys, he pulled from his pocket a quantity of tobacco and a red-handled Stanley knife - which he then tried to conceal.

Somerville was sentenced at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Thursday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to possession of a weapon.

A background report on Somerville, currently an inmate at Greenock prison, was ordered from social workers prior to Thursday’s hearing.

Somerville’s lawyer, Jonathan Paul, tried – without success – to persuade Sheriff Simon Pender that his client, who had been remanded in custody since the day after the incident, should not be handed a fresh jail term.

Mr Paul said: “There is a real history of drug misuse and addiction.

“This incident occurred following the death of his long-term partner: Mr Somerville has told me he relapsed into heroin use to cope, rather than going to his GP to seek bereavement counselling.

“According to the [social work] report, he is not suitable for a community disposal.

“However, I would ask your Lordship to take into account the circumstances of the offence. He was not near a disturbance, or part of any disturbance, but it was an idiotic decision to lift this item.”

On October 30, 1992, victim Mr Friel was out walking his dog through the Ladyton shopping centre car park where he encountered two boys aged 17 and 15.

Details of how Mr Friel died were revealed at the High Court in Glasgow in 1993 when jurors heard how the incident had been a fairly minor one, with some pushing and shouting, during which Mr Friel struck the 15-year-old with the dog lead.

Concerned for his safety, Mr Friel sought refuge in a friend’s house in O’Hare, where he stayed until after midnight. He declined an offer from his friend to escort him and set off home with his dog.

As he went up the road, he encountered the youths, and the 15-year-old boy knocked him to the ground.

The 17-year-old then punched and kicked the lawyer, and Somerville stabbed him four times in the back.

In 2005, Somerville tried to appeal his sentence and was ordered to serve 13 years behind bars. Lord Gill told him that he had received a lenient sentence for the attack.

It was revealed Somerville had been on a governor’s report in jail 33 times, failed 17 random drug tests for cannabis and heroin, and also received a short sentence for a drugs offence while in jail.

In court on Thursday, Sheriff Pender told Somerville: “You have a short, but very serious, record, including a conviction for murder which involved the use of a knife.

“You have not been convicted of any offences since you were released on licence before this matter. Nonetheless, in light of your record, this offence must be viewed as a serious one.”

Somerville was handed a 12-month prison sentence, reduced from one of 18 months because he had pleaded guilty to the offence on his first appearance in court, on January 31, the day after the incident.

His jail term was backdated to that date.

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