AddThis SmartLayers

Fake postman who threw acid over journalist at Christmas gets 15 years

William BurnsA career criminal disguised as a postman who threw sulphuric acid in a former regional journalist’s face at Christmas has been jailed for 15 years.

William ‘Basil’ Burns, left, was found guilty last month of the apparently gangland-motivated attack on Russell Findlay, who began his career at The Glaswegian in 1993, at the journalist’s home.

Burns, 56, threw acid on Mr Findlay’s face before knocking the crime reporter to the ground and then physically attacking him during the incident on 23 December 2015.

But Russell, 44, who was the then-investigative editor of the Scottish Sun, fought back as his terrified young daughter ran to a neighbour’s home for help.

Buckets of water were then thrown over Russell’s face which fortunately diluted the effects of the acid.

Burns denied the offence, claiming he had only turned up to former Sunday Mail journalist’s home to beat him up after Russell had told him he had a compromising photo of him with a young blonde woman, but was found guilty of assaulting the journalist to the danger of his life following a trial in Glasgow.

Sentencing him, Lord Hugh Matthews said: “You have been convicted of a vicious, premeditated attack by the throwing of sulphuric acid into the face of a journalist on the threshold of his own home two days before Christmas.

“You were caught virtually red-handed and your own evidence was an obvious fabrication form start to finish, plainly being made up as you were going along.”

At the previous hearing it was revealed that Burns had an extensive criminal record, having been jailed for 15 years in 2001 after gunning down a woman during a post office robbery and previously being locked up for six years for threatening a security guard with a gun after he stole a cake from a Marks and Spencer store.

Lord Matthews added: “There are ways and means of dealing with grievances, real or imagined, against the media and this was plainly not one of them.

“The freedom of the press is an essential tool in the armoury of any democracy and attacks of this nature will not be tolerated. You have a bad record and are clearly a dangerous man.”