A brave north-east dad was brutally murdered as he tried to protect his family from a drug-crazed stranger who had turned up at their door in the early hours of the morning.
Anthony McGladrigan, 51, was stabbed to death by Liam Hay as his terrified wife and daughter listened on from their bedrooms.
Hay, 20, appeared at the High Court in Glasgow and pled guilty to murdering Anthony at his Cuminestown home.
Today Detective Inspector Gary Winter, who investigated the “horrendous” crime, welcomed the farm worker’s conviction.
The court heard how Hay and friends had been bingeing on drink and drugs at various places between June 21 and 26 this year – the day of the killing.
Prosecutor Erin Campbell said they took cocaine and the stimulant M-Cat.
At one stage, Hay partied at his grandparents’ house while they were on holiday in Spain. The property was just a short distance from Anthony’s home.
Hay was described as “tripping” and his behaviour was “increasingly strange”.
Around 4.30am on the morning of the murder, Hay’s friend tried to wake him.
Hay got up, but then grabbed a baseball bat and claimed he “wanted a word” with him.
His scared friend immediately raced out of the house and banged on Anthony’s door in a bid to seek refuge.
The dad – who worked at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Aberdeen – woke up to the noise and let the man inside, shouting to his wife Fiona: “Stay in the room. He says he is being chased by someone with a bat.”
A bare-footed Hay then stormed up to the back door of the property and tried unsuccessfully to get inside.
The High Court was told Anthony pleaded with him: “No, I am not letting you in. Calm down – put the baseball bat down.”
It was at this point Hay used the bat to smash his way through the glass door.
It is not known exactly what happened next, but Hay appears to have grabbed a knife from the kitchen.
Anthony was heard to scream: “Oh my god, are you crazy? I have been stabbed.”
His wife dialled 999 as her dying husband slumped to the floor.
Fiona then spotted Hay still in her home, but did not want to let on she had clocked him.
When police arrived he was still clutching the murder weapon.
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Anthony was rushed to hospital in Aberdeen, but never recovered. He died due to “multiple” stab wounds to the back and chest.
Detective Inspector Winter told the Evening Express: “Liam forced his way in with a baseball bat and Anthony was trying to protect everyone within the house.
“It was a needless, horrendous, tragic set of circumstances and fortunate it wasn’t worse than what it was. It was a pretty disturbing scene.
“People should feel at their safest in their own home.
“It’s so unusual to have the victim of a crime unconnected in any way with the perpetrator of the crime. For somebody to be murdered within their home address with their family in the address is as awful as it gets.
“You could have never predicted these events would have unfolded in Cuminestown on a June morning.”
A family statement released following the tragedy said: “Tony was loved, brave and an amazing son, husband, father, brother and exceptional friend. He will be missed every day.”
His hotel colleagues also paid tribute, saying he was “hugely well-liked and always smiling”.
The dad-of-two was a quality service leader at the Sandman’s Chop Grill and Bar.
A statement added: “He was fantastic with guests as well as a brilliant colleague. He is going to be such a huge miss to everyone here.”
Hay’s QC Ian Duguid told the hearing: “If there was ever an example for a campaign against the taking of controlled drugs, then this is it.”
DI Winter added: “The consumption of drugs by Liam Hay has been indicated as a contributory factor in Anthony’s murder.
“However, if you have voluntarily consumed drugs you are accountable for your own actions and conduct, no matter how catastrophic they may be.”
Hay now faces a life sentence and will return to court in the new year.