A MAN who tried to convince a jury that he was insane was jailed for life yesterday after being found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Emma Thomson.

Lord Hamilton told James Lindsay, who strangled the 15-year-old with a dog chain, that he would serve a minimum of 15 years.

The judge said it was a ``horrific crime in which a young girl was done to death with great callousness'' and that Lindsay was a danger to the public.

Lindsay, 27, of Brandon Street, Motherwell, had tried to avoid justice by faking mental illness.

While awaiting trial at the High Court in Glasgow, he wrote to a friend from Barlinnie Prison: ``I have a cunning plan to get into Carstairs Hospital and be released after eight years. If I go to prison for murder, I will get life.''

At the start of the trial last week, he offered to plead guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide, because of mental illness.

However, the Crown refused to accept the plea and asked the jury to find scar-faced Lindsay guilty of murdering Emma, of Leslie Street, Motherwell.

He choked her to death with the chain, breaking a bone in her throat and her voice box. She was found dead in his bedsit where she had been taken by friends to spend the night.

As he was led from court to start his sentence, a row broke out over why he had been freed from a psychiatric hospital a year earlier.

Emma's distraught parents told friends they are to ask their MP, Dr Jeremy Bray, to demand an inquiry.

They want to know why doctors allowed Lindsay to leave Carstairs State Hospital.

He had been sent there by a court after being arrested for a shop robbery. Lindsay told psychiatrists there that he had been faking symptoms of paraniod schizophrenia and he was released.

However, the court heard he had already been in Hartwood Psychiatric Hospital in Lanarkshire and was released from there a few weeks before the killing.

The court heard how Emma had argued with a friend with whom she had been going to stay overnight and could not go home because she had been drinking.

Her friends, who knew Lindsay, took her to his flat and left her there.

Another man at the flat told Emma to get to bed because she was ill with drink.

Later, Lindsay, high on drugs and drink, arrived home at 4am and ordered the other man out.

Lindsay was also originally accused of raping Emma and strangling her with the chain, which she was wearing as a necklace, but the Crown dropped that part of the charge because of lack of evidence.

Lindsay wakened neighbour Paul Quinn, 44, and told him: ``Come quick. I've done something important.'' Mr Quinn said he showed him Emma's body lying on the bed.

Lindsay, who had broken both ankles while trying to escape from Hartwood Hospital weeks earlier, began cutting off the plaster.

Then he pulled out the steel pins from the bones before taking #20 from Mr Quinn and leaving the scene.

He later told a doctor that Satan would heal his ankles.

During the trial, a succession of psychiatrists gave different opinions on Lindsay's mental state.

Some said he suffered a personality disorder and that drink and drugs inflamed his mental condition.

He was unable to control his temper and aggression when taking drink and Temazepam.

They said he was sane at the time of the killing.

Other psychiatrists said he was a paranoid schizophrenic and therefore not responsible for his actions.

Mr Gerry Moynihan, prosecuting, told the jury Lindsay knew that if he took drink and drugs it would make him abnormally aggressive and ``unleash his anger''.

Defence QC Donald Findlay told the jury that Lindsay sat over Emma to control her better. He placed a hand over her mouth and pulled the chain for an estimated four minutes.

He said: ``The force of this broke the bone in her throat and only a madman could have done it.''

Lindsay told doctors that Emma's killing was linked to the deaths of five other red-haired woman and that the Devil wanted him to kill a red-haired woman patient after he had been transferred from prison to Carstairs to await trial.

Emma's parents were upset that the Crown dropped the rape charge and that Lindsay had claimed that the girl died after having ``kinky sex'' with him.

Mr Thomson and his wife Emma, 33, said: ``Not only did he murder our daughter but he robbed an innocent young girl of her good name.''

She was a ``bright, lovable pupil'' at Dalziel High School, Motherwell, where she planned to sit Highers and become a nursery nurse.