Son admits to killing father with scissors

High Court of Edinburgh
High Court of Edinburgh

A son who brutally killed his father in an attack with scissors told an emergency services operator that his parent had said he did not want to live before adding: “I’m not bothered.”

Derek Main had plunged the weapon about 12 centimetres deep into his victim’s neck before claiming: “My dad’s gone awol. He said he did not want to live so he started hitting himself.”

Main, who has a record for violence, had previously carried out a serious assault on his father Andrew but the case did not end up in court after it was considered there was insufficient evidence.

He was originally charged with murdering his 57-year-old father following the fatal attack on July 7 in 2014 at the victim’s home address in Corrie Avenue, Stenhousemuir.

But the Crown today accepted his guilty plea to the reduced offence of culpable homicide on the basis of diminished responsibility, when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Psychiatrists agreed that his behaviour was substantially impaired because of “abnormality of mind” at the time of the killing.

Main (37) admitted assaulting his father by repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him on the head and body and killing him with a pair of scissors.

The only child also admitted assaulting his father to his severe injury at his home on October 14 in 2012 after attacking him with a knife.

Main’s not guilty pleas to further charges alleging that he had assaulted his parent on various occasions between January 2010 and July 2014 by punching, kicking and hitting him and that he had attacked him earlier in 2014 by reversing a car and striking him with the vehicle were accepted by the Crown.

Main’s arrival in the dock of the court was greeted by a call of “scum” from a man on the public benches.

The court heard that prior to the killing Main had been at his father’s home where he was drinking. His father was out for the evening with friends and was described as “in good spirits”.

After midnight Mr Main senior, who worked in the construction industry, got a taxi back home from Falkirk town centre and he appeared to be his “usual self and appeared happy”.

The father later contacted a taxi firm and asked for a cab to come to his home and said the destination was “The Valley” where his son lived, advocate depute Angela Gray said.

But eight minutes later a further call was made by the son asking for a taxi or an ambulance to attend.

The prosecutor said: “During that eight minute window, between the two calls to the taxi company, we can deduce that the fatal attack on the deceased took place. There are no witnesses to the assault.”

When a taxi turned up at the house the son got in. “The driver saw that he had a large amount of blood on his hands and on the areas of his top and trousers, as if he had wiped his bloody hands,” said Ms Gray.

Main junior was told to get out the cab, which he did, and the driver contacted his call handler who alerted police.

The son then made his first of two calls to the emergency service asking for an ambulance. In it he said: “My dad’s gone awol, he said he didn’t want to live so he started hitting himself. I think he’s dying, can you hurry up, he’s dying. He’s locked the front door and being a weirdo,” said the prosecutor.

He stopped the call but rang back minutes later and said he was drunk and added: “He said he didn’t want to live. I am sick of this, I’m not bothered.”

Police arrived at the address and found Mr Main senior lying on the living room floor, heavily bloodstained, with a stab wound to the neck.

Attempts at resuscitation were made and it was noticed he had a pair of scissors in his hand.

The judge, Lord Uist, said: “The scissors must have been placed in his hand.” Ms Gray said an alternative explanation that he may have grasped the scissors from his son could not be ruled out.

Before the previous attack on the father in 2012 Main had again been drinking. He lashed out at his father with a knife and struck him on the body before punching him in the face still clutching the weapon.

Main chased his father out into the street before locking the front door of the house while he stayed inside singing Rangers songs.

His father was taken to hospital with wounds to his head, chest and stomach which were stitched.

Lord Uist pointed out that this incident had not ended up in court. The advocate depute agreed and said there was deemed to be insufficient evidence but it was reviewed following the killing.

The court heard that after the fatal attack on his father Main was considered to be fit to plead but following further psychiatric assessment it was decided he was not fit for trial last year.

He was sent to the State Hospital at Carstairs and was found to be suffering from psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions. He responded well to medication and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The judge told Main that in view of the guilty pleas he had made to the crimes of assault to severe injury and the culpable homicide of his father and psychiatric reports he would make an interim compulsion order.

Under the order Main will be returned to the high-security psychiatric hospital pending a further court appearance.