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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 22:29 GMT 23:29 UK
Slashing victim 'expected to die'
Police outside Beggs' flat
Police officers outside Beggs' flat in Kilmarnock
A man has told how he thought he was leaping to his death as he jumped naked from the window of limbs-in-the-loch murderer William Beggs' flat.

The attack on Brian McQuillan took place a decade ago at Beggs' home in Kilmarnock - the same flat where teenager Barry Wallace was murdered in 1999.

He was left with a number of slash wounds - and told BBC Scotland's Frontline programme that he did not think he would get out alive.

Brian McQuillan
Brian McQuillan: "His eyes were vacant"
Beggs - who was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday for the murder of Mr Wallace - was jailed for six years for the earlier attack.

Mr McQuillan said he woke up to find that he was being slashed by Beggs, who he had met at a gay nightclub in Glasgow.

"The pain that I felt was something that I had never experienced before," he recalled.

Mr McQuillan said that he leapt from the bed and grabbed Beggs by the wrists.

"He (Beggs) was completely calm. He was a completely different person from when I met him earlier," he said.

I knew there was no way that I was getting out of there alive

Brian McQuillan
"His eyes were vacant. There was nothing there.

"All he kept saying was, 'Come back to bed. Everything will be okay. Things will be over soon. You have made me do this'.

"At that point I knew there was no way that I was getting out of there alive."

He said that when he jumped through the window he thought he was jumping to his death.

"I never expected that I would survive it," he added.

"It was not a concern to me, it was almost an acceptance, this is the end but at least if I go this way then people will know and this man will be caught."

Sir Christopher Staughton
Sir Christopher Staughton: "It is possible I was right"
Beggs was convicted on Friday of murdering Mr Wallace after sexually assaulting him at his flat.

Beggs then dismembered his body, leaving the parts in Loch Lomond and throwing his head into the sea off Troon.

After the verdict it was revealed that Beggs had been cleared of murder by the appeal court on a technicality.

He was convicted in 1987 of murdering barman Barry Oldham, 28, slashing his throat and mutilating his body.

However, he was freed by appeal court judges who ruled that the trial judge had allowed the jury to hear evidence which should not have been put to it.

Directed jury

The original trial judge, Sir Christopher Staughton, told Frontline that he felt the Court of Appeal was wrong to overturn his conviction.

"I would say that the way I directed the jury was right.

"The Court of Appeal thought it was wrong and of course what they say goes, but I think if one looks at the law as it now is since the House of Lords decision, it is possible that I was right after all.

Carole Smith
Carole Smith was a friend of Beggs'
"Killing is always deplorable and if people are let out and turn out afterwards to have killed again then it is doubly deplorable," he said.

A woman also told the BBC how Beggs had threatened to kill her after Mr Oldham's death.

Former friend Carole Smith said that Beggs had told her that he was suspected of murdering the barman.

"I just looked at him and said 'Did you?' It was probably the stupidest thing I've ever said.

"He said 'Yes, and you're next'," she recalled.

See also:

12 Oct 01 | Scotland
Life for limbs-in-loch murderer
12 Oct 01 | Scotland
Family condemn "devil" killer
12 Oct 01 | Scotland
Beggs' catalogue of violent crime
12 Oct 01 | Scotland
Former student tells of Beggs terror
12 Oct 01 | Scotland
Beggs trial: Timeline
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