Man jailed for throwing acid at journalist: 'Attacks of this nature on freedom of the press will not be tolerated'

A man who threw acid in the face of a journalist on the doorstep of his home has been jailed for ten years.

William Burns posed as a postman before throwing sulphuric acid at Russell Findlay at his home in Glasgow in December 2015.

Sentencing Burns at the High Court in Aberdeen on Tuesday, Judge Lord Matthews said the 56-year-old had apparently carried out the “vicious, premeditated attack” due to objecting “to something that your victim wrote”.

Findlay, who was investigations editor of the Scottish Sun at the time, overpowered Burns with the help of neighbours.

Burns, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, denied the attack but was found guilty of assault to severe injury and danger of life following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was sentenced to ten years in jail with five years on licence following release.

Matthews told him he was “clearly a dangerous man”.

He 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 from start to finish, plainly being made up as you were going along.

“Leaving aside your own explanation why you were there, the only reason I can discern for your actions is that you objected to something that your victim wrote.

“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.”

His sentencing statement, later released by the Judiciary of Scotland, continued: “To some extent, you bit off more than you could chew. Mr Findlay did not take your attack lying down.

“He was able to overpower you and with the prompt assistance of neighbours you were detained there and then.

“Due to the intervention of those neighbours, Mr Findlay’s injuries were not as bad as they might have been.

“It is or should be well-known that acid has the potential to cause catastrophic damage and it is no thanks to you that that was not the case here.”

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