Gary Meikle: Killer who murdered man in 'grotesque' attack and 'mutilated victim's private parts' is jailed

A murderer who killed a vulnerable man in a "grotesque" attack has been jailed for at least 19-and-a-half years.

Gary Meikle, 43, stabbed Charles Wilson at least 54 times with a knife, struck him repeatedly with an axe and "mutilated his private parts" before setting fire to the victim's home, a court heard.

Meikle was handed a life sentence after pleading guilty to murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, judge Lord Young said: "The level of violence you inflicted on Mr Wilson was grotesque.

"His injuries were such that his family were prevented from seeing his body and saying their goodbyes."

Mr Wilson, 40, was found with serious injuries and pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called to a blaze within his flat in Renton's Tontine Park, West Dunbartonshire, on Saturday 25 March.

The court heard that Meikle had no explanation for the murder and claimed he had no recollection of it.

The pair were said to have known each other through drug taking, with the judge describing Mr Wilson as "vulnerable" on account of his "poor physical and mental health and his own addiction to drugs".

Lord Young said: "After murdering him, you tried to destroy evidence by removing fire detectors from his flat; barricaded the door into the flat to obstruct emergency services; locked the front door; and then set fire to his flat before escaping through a window.

"You may have been heavily intoxicated but there was a sense of purpose exhibited by those actions."

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Meikle was said to have had a large number of previous convictions, including for violence and wilful fire-raising.

But Lord Young told the defendant: "None of your previous convictions even hint at you progressing to committing a crime of this savagery."

The judge said that had a passer-by not raised the alarm over the fire, Meikle may have "been facing criminal charges for the deaths or injuries of others".

Lord Young said Mr Wilson's relatives had provided a victim impact statement that gave an insight into a "much-loved and loving family member".

Following the court case, Detective Chief Inspector Lynsey Watters said: "I hope the conviction and sentencing of Meikle will bring some form of comfort to Charles Wilson's family and friends as they continue to come to terms with what happened to him. Our thoughts remain with them.

"Meikle has admitted to this wicked, horrific attack on a man in his own home and he'll now face the consequences of his actions.

"I would like to thank the public and local residents for their help and support throughout our investigation. This led to us being able to identify Meikle and bring him to justice."