A man has been jailed for the “savage, vicious and prolonged attack” in which he killed his girlfriend after he was angered by her dancing with others.
Keith Rizzo was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 22 years at the High Court in Glasgow on Monday for the murder of Neomi Smith in Brechin, Angus, on June 9 2019.
The 23-year-old inflicted at least 26 stab wounds and 32 blunt force injuries on his 23-year-old partner in the attack.
He then concocted “fanciful accounts” of how she died at the hands of two “mystery men” who then “vanished into thin air”.
In her sentencing statement, which was then published, judge Lady Rae said: “On the night of the killing you became very angry because your girlfriend had the audacity to dance with others in a public house where it would appear a number of young people were simply trying to enjoy themselves after attending a local agricultural show.
“So angry were you that you pushed a table over and the deceased left the bar.
“Shortly after, you followed her home and so enraged were you that, you kicked in the flat door.
“Only you can reveal the precise series of events thereafter but what is now known and rightly acknowledged by the jury’s unanimous verdict is that you carried out a savage, vicious and prolonged attack on a defenceless young woman in the kitchen of the flat which you shared with her.
“You cut her throat twice from one side to the other and attempted to strangle her. You were obviously determined to kill her.”
The court was told he continued to deny his guilt after the verdict yet had claimed to be embarrassed by Ms Smith’s behaviour.
It was heard he described her as being “disrespectful’ and “provocative”, and intended to “sort it out”.
Lady Rae added: “What a price this young woman paid for trying to enjoy herself.”
Rizzo has a previous conviction for domestic abuse and is known to have previously attacked his murder victim.
Ms Smith’s family released a statement after the sentencing which read: “As a family we are totally devastated at losing Neomi, her character will always remain with us all, her smile would light up a room.
“The events from June 9 2019 saw Neomi’s personality shine through, she was the life and soul of a party.
“So, for her to be brutally killed at the hands of Keith Rizzo has devastated us all, he never even knew her given the short period of time they were together.
“No sentence could be long enough for this vile person.”
Detective Inspector Ross Fitzgerald added: “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.”