Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Prison for torture killing pair

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Kidd and Whyte admitted culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh

Two men who admitted torturing and killing a man with learning difficulties in his Fife home have both been jailed for 12-and-a-half years.

Barry Kidd and Stuart Whyte punched and kicked Mark White and left him locked in his Glenrothes house with a plastic bag over his head last November.

The 31-year-old died of hypothermia. His body was found later after his father raised the alarm.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Kidd and Whyte admitted culpable homicide.

Police said Mr White had suffered a "horrific ordeal".

A judge told the pair at the High Court in Edinburgh that their crime had been "wicked and callous".

Lord Brodie said: "You attacked and robbed a young man with learning difficulties who was described as a popular and well-known member of the community."

Despite all his difficulties he was able to reside on his own and lived a simplistic and very routine way of life
Ashley Edwards
Advocate depute

Kidd, 28, and Whyte, 29, were originally charged with murdering their victim at his home on 21 November last year.

But the Crown accepted their guilty pleas to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

They gained entry to the house and attacked the victim after using the pretence of being utility firm employees.

Mr White was repeatedly punched and kicked, pinned to the ground and put in a headlock. A knife was put to his face and a plastic bag put over his head and bound with tape.

His hands and feet were taped and his head was stamped on before he was dragged into a cupboard.

He was confined in the house after the robbery with doors being locked and keys taken.

Advocate depute Ashley Edwards said of Mr White: "He was a vulnerable, trusting person with learning difficulties which were the result of complications during his birth."

"Despite all his difficulties he was able to reside on his own and lived a simplistic and very routine way of life."

Fractured ribs

Six days after the assault the victim's father, Robert, became concerned at the lack of contact from his son and asked a family friend to investigate.

Miss Edwards said pathologists decided that the victim had died from hypothermia following blood loss from a scalp wound after the assault.

The bruised and battered assault victim, who had fractured ribs, appeared to have managed to free himself from his bindings but got into a confused state.

She said: "For the deceased the events, involving both the accused, were a new experience and it appears he did not know how to deal with it.

"Despite the presence of a phone in the house he did not phone his parents or the emergency services."

Det Ch Insp Lee Dickson, of Fife Constabulary, said "Today's guilty pleas and subsequent conviction of these two men will hopefully bring some form of closure for Mark's family and for the local community as a whole.

"I would like to give my thanks to the many members of the community who came forward and helped us build a case against both of these men.

"Our thoughts are with Mark's family at this time."



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