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Man disguised as postman hurled sulphuric acid at journalist

William BurnsA notorious criminal has been convicted over an acid attack which almost blinded a former regional journalist.

A jury found career criminal William ‘Basil’ Burns, left, guilty of the apparently gangland-motivated attack on Russell Findlay, who began his career at The Glaswegian in 1993.

Burns, 56, denied disguising himself as a postman and hurling sulphuric acid into Russell’s face, leaving the then-investigative editor of the Scottish Sun lucky not to be blinded.

He insisted he had only turned up at Russell’s door to “beat up” the 44-year-old, after claiming that the journalist had told him he had a compromising photo of Burns with a young blonde woman, which he had threatened to show to his wife.

Burns, who at the time of the attack had been freed early from a 15 year jail term for shooting a woman in a post office robbery, went on to claim that Russell, who has written books on gang crime, must have thrown the acid on his own face.

During the case, a jury heard how Mr Findlay answered his door around 8.30am on December 23 2015 and was told he had a parcel to sign for, before being handed a card to sign – but, as he did so, acid was flung in his face.

The journalist recalled: “I felt liquid on my face. Something very wrong had happened. He came at me in the hall. I knew I was being attacked.” He wrestled Burns out of the house, held onto him and yelled for help.

Giving evidence earlier in the trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Russell told how his “very scared” young daughter had raced to a neighbour’s to get help while her dad gripped hold of his attacker.

Burns was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month, after being found guilty of assault to the danger of Russell’s life.

Co-accused Alexander Porter, 48, had faced the same charge and was said to be the getaway driver, but had a not proven verdict returned.