A MAN who stabbed his flatmate to death after a row over unpaid bills has been jailed for life.

Grzegorz Gamla attacked fellow Pole Maciej Ciania, 34, at a property in Leith, Edinburgh, in January last year. Gamla later fled back to his homeland before being arrested and brought back to Scotland to face justice.

The 26-year-old was ordered to serve a minimum 19 years in jail when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday.

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Lord Pentland told Gamla: "It is clear this was a sus- tained and savage onslaught pressed home with ruthless determination."

The judge added the victim's relatives had suffered "terrible anguish".

Gamla – who had been convicted after a trial last month – will be deported when he is eventually released.

The court heard how Mr Ciania, who had lived in Edinburgh for 10 years and considered the capital his second home, was stabbed and slashed 37 times after a "simmering dispute" over unpaid household bills.

Gamla soon escaped from the property in the capital's Leith area after their flatmate discovered the corpse.

Gamla had used power tools to make a box to hide the body.

He initially took a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast before moving to Dublin and then flying to Warsaw.

Gamla was arrested in Poland and returned to Scotland on an extradition warrant.

The killer was also found guilty of assaulting Mr Ciania on a previous occasion.

Brian Gilfedder, defending, told the court yesterday said: "It appears there was a love-hate relationship between the two men.

"There certainly was a simmering background, but the accused never believed it would come to this."

Following the verdict in December, the victim's sister, Aleksandra Poprawska, said: "Nothing will bring Maciej back but we are relieved to know the person who committed this terrible crime will probably never hurt anyone again and no other family will suffer like we do."

After his body was found, more than 60 Lothian and Borders officers were involved in the investigation.

A jury found Gamla guilty, rejecting a claim he had been acting in self-defence.

Forensic scientists found traces which suggested three knives had been used in the attack.

Gamla's DNA was discovered on a mop handle and Mr Ciania's blood was also found on the mop, suggesting there had been an attempt to clean up.

He was forced to leave the crime scene when Darius Reivytis, 29, and his Spanish girlfriend Beatriz Del Valle, 26, returned from a trip to the Highlands.