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Limbs-in-loch murderer in compensation payout

The "limbs-in-the-loch" killer William Beggs has been awarded compensation for the length of time taken for his appeals to be heard.

Beggs was convicted in 2001 of murdering 18-year-old Barry Wallace in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

The victim's limbs and torso were recovered from Loch Lomond while his head was found washed up on a beach near Troon.

Beggs was jailed for life and ordered to spend at least 20 years behind bars.

The European Court of Human Rights yesterday published a ruling that awarded Beggs €6000 (£4800) after finding his human rights had been breached under article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 6.1 states: "In the determination ... of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

The award is made up of 2000 euros for non- pecuniary damage (damages for which there is no formal monetary scale, such as pain and suffering) and €4000 for legal costs and expenses.

Beggs has failed in previous appeals to overturn his conviction at the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court in Edinburgh. His entire appeal proceedings have lasted more than 10 years and three months.

A summary of the European Court ruling stated: "Although the case was complex, this did not in itself justify appeal proceedings which lasted over 10 years. A substantial proportion of the delay had been caused by the applicant's own conduct.

"However, there were also periods of inactivity where the courts had failed to take steps to progress matters of their own motion, and this led the Court to find a violation of the right to trial within a reasonable time.

"As regards Mr Beggs' numerous challenges to the fairness of the trial pro-ceedings, the Court found his trial was fair and declared all of his complaints inadmissible."

Beggs first made an application to the European Court of Human Rights in June 2006. He was seeking £16,400 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and more than £10,000 for legal expenses.

He was jailed for life after being found guilty of murder in October 2001.

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