A man has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend after storming into a rage when she danced with another man in a pub.
Keith Rizzo choked Neomi Smith, 23, and stabbed her 32 times in her flat in Brechin, Angus in the early hours of last June 9.
The 23-year-old farm worker later lied to his mother Miss Smith had been brutally set upon by two mystery attackers as she owed them money.
Rizzo now faces a life sentence after he was today convicted of murder following a two-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.
There was a loud cry of “yes” from Miss Smith’s emotional family at the verdict.
One shouted at Rizzo: “Hope you rot in hell.”
After the hearing, Detective Inspector Ross Fitzgerald welcomed the verdict.
He said: “Our thoughts are still very much with Neomi’s family and friends during what is a really difficult time for them.
“The loss of their daughter, sister and friend has been agonising for them.
“This conviction will not in any way compensate for their loss, but Rizzo will now have to face the consequences for his horrific actions.
“Anyone who may be concerned that someone they know is at risk of harm from a current or former partner can contact Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Lady Rae deferred sentencing until next month for reports.
The judge added: “Be under no illusion, you will be facing a significant punishment part for the life sentence as this was a vile and brutal murder of a young woman.”
The couple had got together earlier in 2019. Miss Smith – a care worker – was originally from Aberdeen.
Jurors heard how Rizzo was violent to his girlfriend shortly into the relationship.
Weeks before the killing, Miss Smith told a friend how the thug had choked her until she passed out.
He later had a blazing row with his partner at her flat, smashing a mirrored wardrobe door and then hurling his iPhone at her.
A disorientated Miss Smith was eventually discovered in her stairwell with a large bump on her head.
The trial heard heard how the pair were then at Brechin’s Hudson’s Bar the night before the murder.
It was there Rizzo lost the plot and sent a table of drinks crashing.
His friend Cameron Saunders recalled how Rizzo stormed out the pub after clocking Miss Smith dancing with another man.
Mr Saunders added: “They were bumping bums. They were dancing away for a while when Keith said: ‘that’s enough’.”
Miss Smith was left in tears and was heard stating: “This is what I have to put up with.”
Miss Smith went on to walk home with her friend Kayleigh Cameron.
She confided in Miss Cameron how she had been suffering at the hands of Rizzo.
Miss Smith was worried about leaving Rizzo in case he attacked her again as he had “not hesitated to do it before”.
Miss Cameron then recalled her final conversation with her friend.
The witness: “I asked her if she was going to be safe. She replied: ‘Yes’.
“She told me that she would lock the door and would keep her key in, so he could not use his to gain access.”
But, the trial instead heard how Rizzo stomped back from the pub, booted his way into the flat before carrying out the horrific killing.
He throttled Miss Smith, used two knives to stab her Miss Smith 32 times and also left her pummelled with the same amount of blunt force injuries.
But, Rizzo soon spun a web of lies to cover up what happened.
He first raced to Miss Smith’s neighbour for help claiming she had been arguing with “someone” while he was in the shower.
Stephen Alexander dialled 999 and recalled racing up to the bloodbath with Rizzo.
Miss Smith was found lying stricken in her kitchen.
Mr Alexander told jurors: “I entered…I saw a scene of carnage. There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.
“It looked as though a battle had taken place. There was bottles of sauce, fruit and vegetables amongst the broken glass.
“There was a knife at Neomi’s left leg. She was lying on her front between the fridge and the tumble dryer.”
Mr Alexander gave Miss Smith CPR before mercy crews arrived.
Paramedic Angela McKenzie recalled the flat being “like a horror movie”.
She checked Miss Smith’s neck for injuries and saw it had holes in it.
Miss Smith was found to have died due to multiple stab wounds, blunt force injury and neck compression.
Rizzo’s mum Frances then visited her son in Perth prison week later while he was on remand.
He gave a bizarre account of how two men took turns to stab Miss Smith after the couple returned home.
Rizzo said he had pleaded with the pair to empty his bank account if they were owed money.
But, he insisted the mystery pair killed Miss Smith adding: “This is not the first time we have done this.”
After the verdict, it emerged Rizzo already had an abuse conviction concerning another woman.
Rizzo was also separately convicted today of an earlier assault on Miss Smith as well as behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.