Killer faces dying in jail for murder of Tweedbank pensioner

Richard Cassidy has been jailed for life and told he won't be eligible for parole until 2033 at the earliest.
Richard Cassidy has been jailed for life and told he won't be eligible for parole until 2033 at the earliest.

A murderer looks set to die behind bars after being jailed for life and told he can’t apply for parole until 2033 at the earliest.

Richard Cassidy, 70, was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow in June of the murder of David Farish, 75, at his home in Broadlee Bank, Tweedbank, in February last year and was back in court yesterday for sentencing.

Murder victim David Farish.

Murder victim David Farish.

The 17-year minimum term Cassidy, previously of no fixed abode, faces, even though it is backdated to February last year, means he is unlikely ever to be released as he is in poor health, having suffered a heart attack and stroke already since being taken into custody, defence barrister Brian McConnachie told the hearing.

Judge Lord Alan Summers described the murder as premeditated and “particularly brutal”, Mr Farish having been stabbed 14 times.

He told the former soldier: “The murder was a particularly brutal one.

“The pathologist Robert Ainsworth noted 14 penetrating knife wounds, including wounds to the throat and body.

Broadlee Bank in Tweedbank.

Broadlee Bank in Tweedbank.

“One wound in particular penetrated the middle lobe of the right lung and entered the right side of the heart. The pathologist indicated that David Farish could not have survived that blow. This wound, in combination with the others, meant he died within a few minutes of the attack.”

The judge also told Cassidy that his sentence would take into account not only the fact that he appeared to have planned the murder but also that he had tried to cover his tracks afterwards.

“The evidence also disclosed a significant degree of composure and premeditation,” he said.

“Although Mr Farish had never met you before, he admitted you to his home on the day of the murder. You drove him to a local store at about 8am and again about 10.30am to get cigarettes and whisky.

“In the criminal justice social work report, it is stated that while in the Army, you had received training from the special forces in the early 1980s. The purpose of this training was to infiltrate terrorist cells by befriending identified people.

“In winning David Farish’s confidence, you claim to have used these skills.

“What he did not know is that you had taken a knife with you. You claim that you intended to threaten him with it so as to extract a confession. The knife, however, was used to kill David Farish.

“After the killing, you disposed of your bloodstained clothes. The murder weapon has never been found. There is also evidence that you cleaned up after the murder.”

In mitigation, Lord Summers told Cassidy he accepted that he believed a female acquaintance’s claim that Mr Farish had abused her years previously even though he had never been charged with any such offence following a police investigation in 2006.

“The evidence before me is that although David Farish was unknown to you personally before the day of the attack, he was known to you by reputation,” he told him.

“I have no reason to doubt that this was what aroused your antipathy to the man.”

He added: “Prior to the murder, you had lived a blameless life.”

Mr McConnachie also made that point, saying that until February 2016 Cassidy had never been in trouble with the law.

The court heard that after killing Mr Farish, despite initially attempting to cover his tracks, Cassidy handed himself in to the police and owned up, although he denied murder and would only admit culpable homicide.

After the case, Detective Inspector David Pinkney, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team, said: “This was a particularly heinous murder of a frail, elderly man in his own home.

“Although this sentence will not reverse his cruel actions, I do hope it will bring some measure of resolution for David’s family.”