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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
'Vampire' killer jailed for life
Allan Menzies
Allan Menzies murdered his friend
A man who said a movie vampire drove him to kill his best friend in a frenzied attack has been jailed for life.

Allan Menzies, 22, from Fauldhouse in West Lothian, claimed he was told to kill Thomas McKendrick by a character from the film Queen Of The Damned.

He had denied murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice but was found guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh.

His offer to plead guilty to culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility had already been rejected by the Crown.

At the end of the day I knew I would have to murder somebody anyway
Allan Menzies
Judge Roderick Macdonald said Menzies was an "evil and dangerous psychopath" and should serve at least 18 years before he can be considered for parole.

The offence took place on 11 December last year.

The court was told that Menzies said he had drunk some of his victim's blood and eaten part of his head.

In evidence, he said the female vampire Akasha, who was played in the film by the late US singer Aaliyah, had visited him at home.

Thomas McKendrick
Thomas McKendrick was beaten and stabbed
Menzies had watched the film more than 100 times and claimed he was told he would be rewarded with immortality and become a vampire "in the next life" if he carried out the killing.

The unemployed security guard had attacked Mr McKendrick with knives and a hammer after the victim had called at his home in Lanrigg Avenue on the Saturday morning.

Menzies said he launched the attack after Mr McKendrick had insulted his vampire heroine.

He then alleged that he had drunk some of the man's blood and eaten some of his flesh.

He told the court: "At the end of the day I knew I would have to murder somebody anyway. It was the only way you could do it. If you don't murder somebody you couldn't become a vampire."

In my opinion you are an evil, violent and highly dangerous man who is not fit to be at liberty
Judge Roderick Macdonald
Menzies said he was convinced he was now a vampire and became immortal after the killing.

He dumped the victim's body in a wheely bin and took it to a shallow grave in a wood where it was found by police almost six weeks later.

A jury unanimously convicted him of the murder and of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by burying his victim's body, concealing clothing and attempting to remove bloodstains.

The court heard that he was sent to a secure unit at the age of 14 after stabbing a school pupil and had attacked a family member with a knife.

Akasha, the vampire in Queen of the Damned
Akasha, the vampire in Queen of the Damned
He was also sentenced to three years' detention for assaulting a 13-year-old boy to his severe injury at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1996.

During his trial for Mr McKendrick's murder, the jury was told that while Menzies suffered from a severe personality disorder, he was not insane.

Sentencing Menzies, Judge MacDonald said: "Three psychologists have diagnosed you as a psychopath.

"In my opinion you are an evil, violent and highly dangerous man who is not fit to be at liberty.

"You subjected Thomas McKendrick to a savage and merciless attack. You totally lack remorse."

'Lack of understanding'

Speaking after the verdict Mr McKendrick's mother, Sandra French, 54, said: "We are pleased with the verdict."

Her daughter Sandra-Mary McKendrick, 23, said: "He has got what he deserved."

After his client was jailed for life, solicitor Aamar Anwar said the case highlighted the social stigma surrounding mental health.

"The continued taboo and the lack of understanding or support of schizophrenia and mental health in our community can only mean that tragedies like this case are more likely to happen and not less."

The judge also ordered that Menzies serves three years for attempting to defeat the aims of justice, which will run concurrently with his life imprisonment sentence.

BBC Scotland's Nigel Robson
"The judge called Menzies' attack savage and merciless"

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