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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 14:28 GMT
Life for 'mistaken identity' murder
Billy Ferris
Ferris had sneered as he was led from the dock
An Ayrshire man has been jailed for life for the brutal murder of a 15-year-old boy.

Jason Hutchison was stabbed 15 times at his Irvine home and his body set alight in a bid to cover the killer's tracks.

Billy Ferris, the brother of notorious gangland figure Paul Ferris, had intended to attack Jason's brother, believing he had assaulted his wife.

Ferris, 53, had denied murder but was found guilty. The judge ordered him to spend at least 22 years behind bars.

Self-styled security consultant Ferris, from Sophia Crescent, Irvine, had previously served more than 20 years for murdering a 22-year-old man in the 1970s.

He heard Ferris say 'pay-back time' and he saw the top of a head loll to one side
Christine Bracey
Trial witness
The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the attack in February was supposed to be revenge for an alleged assault on Ferris' wife, Carol Anne, by David Hutchison, now 19.

Fixing the minimum time Ferris must serve, the judge, Lady Smith, told him she was taking into account "the brutal nature of the killing which displayed a callous disregard for human life, the vulnerability of your sleeping victim - who had no quarrel with you - and you and your previous convictions".

As he was led from the dock Ferris sneered at members of the Hutchison family in the public benches.

Ferris had denied murdering Jason then setting fire to his mutilated body in an attempt to destroy evidence.

He also denied stealing a hi-fi and CDs, a games computer, clothes and other items.

Jason Hutchison
Jason was mistaken for his brother
The theft was an attempt to make the fatal assault look like a house-breaking which had gone wrong, it was claimed.

The trial had heard a chilling account of the murder from Lance McGuiness, 36, who was with Ferris on the night but claimed he was an innocent bystander.

His terrified girlfriend - who is under police protection - described how devastated McGuiness, slumped against a kitchen unit in their home in Troon, began to tell her of what he had seen.

Christine Bracey, 35, said McGuiness told her that Ferris had taken him into the house at Paterson Avenue, Irvine, and while there he heard a noise from a bedroom.

"He heard Ferris say 'pay-back time' and he saw the top of a head loll to one side," she had told the court.

"Lance told me that Billy told him that some time ago this bloke Hutchison gave his wife a good doing and damaged all her eye-socket, gave her a good beating and this was for pay-back."

Car exhaust evidence

The Crown had claimed McGuiness was Ferris' willing accomplice and may even have held Jason's face pressed into a pillow as Ferris stabbed him but the jury cleared him of all charges.

Jason's charred body, wearing a Rangers' t-shirt, was found on a bed by fire-fighters called to his home in Paterson Avenue just after 0100 GMT on 6 February.

But a post mortem examination found he had died from knife wounds which had pierced his heart and sliced through his aorta.

The scene of the murder
Tributes to the dead boy were left outside his house
When police began inquiries they discovered car exhaust sounds recorded on a neighbour's home made CCTV system from around the time of the murder.

Vibration tests run by a motor industry engineer concluded that the car visiting Paterson Avenue was a Honda Accord belonging to Ferris' wife.

The day after the murder a local authority gardener, Darren Young, 31, stumbled on an Oasis CD in bushes.

It was a Christmas present to Jason from his mother, Ann Hutchison, and had been run over by a tyre with an unusual tread pattern. It matched a front wheel of the Honda.

Forensic scientists found Jason's blood in the car and also on the button of a jacket seized from Ferris' home.

In 1977, Ferris, then a 27-year-old living in Corby, Northamptonshire, was convicted of murder.

During a fight in a pub he had repeatedly stabbed 22-year-old Alan Thomson with a penknife. He was jailed for life but freed on parole in June 1999.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay
"It's the second time Ferris has been jailed for life for murder"



SEE ALSO:
Two in court over boy's death
12 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Parents in 'find killer' plea
13 Feb 03  |  Scotland
Ferris heads back to jail
03 May 02  |  Scotland


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