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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Life for kicking man to death
High Court in Edinburgh
Bullen appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh
A man has been jailed for life for kicking a former oil worker to death in a Scottish island's second murder in more than 30 years.

Paul Bullen's victim was left with 47 fractures after the attack in a bedsit in Kirkwall on Orkney.

The 21-year-old was wearing boots with steel toecaps when he launched the attack on Thomas Miller in May this year.


It would seem that because of Mr Miller's further attention - I put it no higher than that - matters unfortunately, tragically and fatally developed

Jock Thomson QC
The court heard that Mr Miller, 47, died because the 21 fractures to his ribs had made it impossible for him to breathe.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, temporary judge Roderick Macdonald QC ordered that Bullen must serve at least nine years in prison before he can be considered for release on licence.

Bullen was appearing for sentence on Monday, having previously admitted murdering Mr Miller on 29 May.

The court heard that Mr Miller, of Bignold Park Road, was a drinking friend of the mother of Bullen's girlfriend, Sarah Norquoy.

Calmed down

Advocate depute Gerry Hanratty, prosecuting, said there had been an incident in May when Mr Miller was supposed to have made advances towards Ms Norquoy when he was drunk.

Mr Miller and the couple were drinking in a friend's bedsit when the matter came up again.

Mr Miller also began to play with the tassels hanging from the front of Ms Norquoy's trousers.

Bullen punched Mr Miller but was stopped from going any further.

Another man appeared to have calmed things down - but when they went to leave the flat Bullen locked his girlfriend outside, then began to attack Mr Miller again.

Courtroom
The court heard that Mr Miller suffered 47 fractures
When she was allowed back in she saw Mr Miller covered in blood.

The body was discovered by another man after they left.

Bullen told police: "I must have kicked him harder than I thought. I have got steel toecap boots on."

He later said that he had not meant Mr Miller to die, but accepted he had kicked him a number of times and jumped on him.

Advocate Jock Thomson QC, defending, told the court that Bullen said the row over Mr Miller's pass at his girlfriend seemed to have been resolved.

Murder inquiry

"It would seem that because of Mr Miller's further attention - I put it no higher than that - matters unfortunately, tragically and fatally developed," he said.

Orkney's previous murder was in 1994, sparking the island's first murder inquiry for 25 years.

Bangladeshi waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood, 26, was shot in the head while working in Orkney's only Asian restaurant.

However, no-one has ever been convicted of his murder.

Edmund Ross, a police constable who concealed vital evidence about the ammunition thought to have been used, was later jailed for four years.

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