Man killed neighbour after row over loud music

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A KIRKCALDY man accused of murdering his neighbour in a row over loud music has been found guilty.

At the end of the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, the jury returned a majority verdict yesterday (Wednesday) finding Steven Kettles (28) guilty of murdering 44-year-old David Allan in a block of flats in Overton Mains, Kirkcaldy on March 3 this year by stabbing him with a knife.

Kettles had denied the charge and had lodged a special defence of self-defence.

At the time of the incident Kettles lived in the block’s ground floor flat, directly below Mr Allan.

Loud music

The jury had heard evidence there was a problem with Kettles playing loud music at night.

DS Alan Stewart, who was called to the flat after the incident said he found a flat-screen TV in Kettles’ bedroom and the volume control was set at its loudest.

A friend of Mr Allan, Stuart Easson, told Advocate Depute, Keith Stewart QC, that he had mentioned loud music being played all the time in the flat directly underneath him.

David Allan’s brother, John (49) also spoke of the problem of loud music coming from downstairs saying his brother would bang his foot on the floor to make it stop.

999 call

Scott Darroch, an emergency services dispatcher, told the court he had received a 999 call from a man saying there was a man in his flat who had been stabbed in the stomach.

He had advised him to apply pressure to the wound until an ambulance crew arrived.

In an interview at Kirkcaldy police station, Kettles claimed Mr Allan had banged on his bedroom window, shouting for him to turn the music down.

He said he did, but shortly afterwards he claimed Mr Allan had come to his door and was banging and kicking on it, shouting about the music.

He said he had been making a cheese sandwich and still had a knife in his hand.

He told the officer: “It was not my fault because he went into it.”

He added: “I never forced the knife into him. He went into it.”

The jury heard Kettles had learning difficulties and an IQ of 57. No defence evidence was led.

Tears

When the verdict was announced some members of the two families, who had been in court burst into tears.

Following the verdict, Advocate Depute, Keith Stewart QC, told Lord Tyre Kettles had a number of previous convictions, including assault, theft by housebreaking, theft of a motor vehicle, willful fire-raising and assault and robbery.

At the time of the murder he was on deferred sentence for possession of an offensive weapon - a screwdriver - and had also been on a bail undertaking in relation to alleged theft.

Vengeance

Mr Stewart told the judge Mr Allan’s relatives had stated they did not “desire vengeance” against Kettles.

Lord Tyre told Kettles he required to carry out further inquiries before he passed sentence, but there was only one sentence for murder - life imprisonment.

The case was adjourned until November 9 to ascertain the period before he could be considered for parole.