Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 15:07 UK

Life term for bus stop murderer

James Spence (left) and Kevin Forsyth
James Spence (left) and Kevin Forsyth were both carrying weapons

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a Hungarian bus driver who had come to Scotland to make a fresh start.

James Spence, 20, was told he must serve at least 15 years in jail after he stabbed Istvan Sipos to death in Glasgow on 10 June last year.

The court heard Spence, who was under a 1900-0700 curfew, was drinking heavily before the attack at a bus stop.

Mr Sipos had been out celebrating his 26th birthday before he was killed.

He was waiting at a bus stop on Hopeman Road at its junction with Carnwadric Road at 0045 BST with his brother Kristian, 23, and friends.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told Spence and another teenager, Kevin Forsyth, 19, had been drinking since 1000 BST the previous day and were armed.

This was a cowardly, unjustified and violent attack on an innocent and unarmed stranger
Judge Lady Dorrian

Spence, who was banned from Carnwadric Road, approached the group and asked for and was given a cigarette and asked where the group was from.

He then stabbed Mr Sipos six times and Mr Forsyth slashed his brother on the arm.

Spence returned to the murder scene at about 0500 GMT and tried to enter the police cordon.

He gave his name to an officer and it was discovered he was in breach of his curfew. He was searched and a knife with Mr Sipos' blood on it was found.

Spence, of Burnside Gardens, in the Priesthill area of Glasgow, pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier hearing.

Forsyth of Kilmuir Road Glasgow, admitted to assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

Istvan Sipos
Istvan Sipos had been in Scotland for a year when he died

On sentencing, Judge Lady Dorrian said: "This was a cowardly, unjustified and violent attack on an innocent and unarmed stranger."

Defence QC said Spence realised being drunk was no excuse for his actions, but there was no other explanation.

He said: "This incident seems to have been fuelled by alcohol and disrespect for the sanctity of human life, unfortunately.

"He is a young, 20-year-old man who appears, like so many others, to over-indulge in alcohol but also carries a knife and has used it on this occasion with devastating consequences."

Mr Sipos arrived in Glasgow in June 2006. His father was in court to see his killer jailed.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "His murderer wanted to fight without any reason.

"For this crime, for this action, the longest sentence and the longest punishment would not be enough."

He said his sons, from Haves in Hungary, had come to Scotland because they could not earn a decent wage at home.

He said Istvan had been popular at Caledonian Buses where he worked and loved living in Scotland.

The court heard both Spence and Forsyth had written letters of apology expressing remorse for their actions.

Forsyth was jailed for five years and eight months years for his part in the attack.


SEE ALSO
Youth stabbed Hungarian to death
28 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Two men held for bus stop attack
11 Jun 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Man dies after fight at bus stop
10 Jun 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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