Ten years ago today, a murder investigation was launched following the death of an Aberdeen man after he was found with horrific injuries at home.
Police charged a man with the murder of Alexander Flett but he never stood trial.
Today, the only man to be accused of the killing broke his silence and said he did not kill his friend.
Keith Walker also told of his “decade of heartache” and that he had suffered the double blow of losing his pal and having his reputation unfairly tarnished.
The Crown Office today confirmed there are no active proceedings against Mr Walker, and no one else has been convicted or is currently facing charges in relation to it.
Police have appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.
Now 57 and living in Torry, Mr Walker said he was innocent a decade after Mr Flett, known as Sandy, suffered serious injuries at his Sheddocksley home and died at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
He said: “I was allowed home after appearing in court in December 2008 and I had hoped that would be the end of it. But my name has been dragged through the mud for 10 years.
“It has given me a decade of heartache.”
Mr Walker said he has been in trouble with the police before, adding: “But I would never in a million years kill someone.
“That is unthinkable – and if I were to do it, I would own up. I did not do it.”
He said he had been at Mr Flett’s home on the night of his death, but left when Mr Flett asked him to.
He said: “He asked me to go home and I did.
“I walked down Lang Stracht and then got a taxi back to my home in Torry.
“I told the police all I know.
“I would hope they want to get to the bottom of it and if they were to ask me if I would be interviewed again, I would do so – a million per cent.”
He added: “The impact on my life has been massive. My reputation was unfairly tarnished.
“I have turned to drink and have an alcohol addiction problem.
“I’ve not been able to get a job because of the stigma attached to my name and I’ve suffered from ill health.
“I have lost a lot of weight and it has had an impact on my family too.”
Mr Walker added: “If I go to the pub, people look at me and remember me getting arrested – but I wasn’t convicted because there was no evidence and that was because I’m innocent.”
Mr Flett, a 51-year-old forklift driver, died as a result of blood loss due to a “sharp force injury” to his abdomen, on November 17 2008, records show.
He left behind partner Shona Small and their seven-year-old son.
Mr Walker said he had been friends with Mr Flett for years and added: “Sandy was a true gent. Everyone loved him.
“Nobody would ever say a bad word about him and I spoke to him every day.
“I still do. Every night, I talk to him.
“Ten years have gone by and you read a lot about developments in DNA and forensic techniques.
“I would hope that would mean the police can finally crack this case, so Sandy can get justice and the charge against me can finally be dropped.”