Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 15:27 UK

Samurai sword killers sentenced

Court coat of arms
The court heard that Smith owed the victim thousands of pounds

Two men who killed their victim in his bed with a samurai sword and a telescopic baton have been jailed.

Andrew Smith, 28, and James Crawford, 29, had admitted killing 55-year-old Alan Cruikshank at his home in Kirkcaldy.

Smith was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 15 years before he can apply for parole.

His co-accused was sentenced to 11 and a half years for his part in the killing in April.

Smith admitted murder and Crawford pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Smith owed Mr Cruickshank thousands of pounds for drugs he had been given to sell to others.

The court was told that on Saturday 4 April, Smith had been drinking and taking cocaine before inviting a number of people back to his home in Kirkcaldy for a party.

The degree of violence was extreme and brutal. The assault was carried out in what can only be described as cold blood

Judge Kenneth Maciver

In the early hours of the Sunday morning, former bouncer Crawford, also from Kirkcaldy, arrived with his dogs.

The two men later left the house and headed for Mr Cruickshank's home. Smith had a sword and Crawford an extendable baton.

The court heard that a neighbour of Mr Cruickshank's was woken by the sound of barking and looked out of his bedroom window to see two men acting suspiciously.

They had disappeared from sight when he opened his window to get a better look but a short time later he heard the dogs barking again and the sound of raised voices in Mr Cruickshank's flat.

Seconds later the front door opened and Smith emerged wearing a white protective paper suit. The neighbour then dialled 999.

The court also heard that officers heading back to Kirkcaldy Police Station along Hendry Road saw Smith with a white suit rolled up under his arm. In a nearby driveway they found the broken sword and its sheath.

When Smith was questioned he asked detectives: "Can I plead insanity because I was a bit out of my face at the time with coke?"

Edward Targowski QC, defending Smith, said: "He has found real difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that he has killed a man."

The court heard that, during the argument in Mr Cruickshank's flat, Crawford had struck out in the dark, with his baton, not knowing where his blows were landing.

'Extreme and brutal'

Defence QC Edgar Prais, for Crawford, said: "What he did the night Mr Cruickshank died was something which was horribly out of character. Clearly that is a desperately serious crime but it is not murder."

Judge Kenneth Maciver said there was an element of pre-planning and premeditation involved as the two made their way through the streets of Kirkcaldy in the dead of night, carrying weapons.

The judge also spoke of "the murky and dangerous world of drug dealing and drug disputes and score settling".

He told the two men: "The degree of violence was extreme and brutal. The assault was carried out in what can only be described as cold blood."

The court heard that Mr Cruickshank had died almost instantly when Smith's sword sliced through his aorta, the main blood vessel coming from the heart, but suffered a catalogue of other injuries, some inflicted when he was already dead or dying.

Before then Mr Cruickshank had fought for his life - he had bruises from trying to fend off Crawford's baton with a plastic splint he was wearing on his broken wrist and cuts to his hand from trying to grab Smith's blade.

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, said a post mortem found two serious stab wounds on Mr Cruickshank's abdomen, five cuts to the palm and fingers of his left hand, three stab wounds and a cut to his right leg, one of which had gone clean through his thigh.

Mr Cruickshank also suffered blunt force injuries from Crawford's baton, including a laceration which had smashed his jaw, leaving the bone exposed and broken his nose.

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