Murderer fails in bid to reduce sentence for killing Dalkeith woman

Frazer Neil, who murdered Hannah Dorans.
Frazer Neil, who murdered Hannah Dorans.

A man serving life for murdering his ex fiancée from Dalkeith after she split with him, has today failed in a legal bid to have the punishment part of his sentence reduced.

Frazer Neil(25) was jailed in November 2018 after being found guilty of choking Hannah Dorans with a dressing gown cord at their former flat in Edinburgh.

Judge Lady Scott told Neil that he would have to serve at least 19 years in jail before he’d be able to apply for parole.

Earlier today (Wednesday), lawyers for Neil told judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that the punishment part was excessive for the circumstances of the offence.

Defence advocate Brian McConnachie QC argued that Lady Scott should have imposed a less severe punishment part.

But appeal judges Lord Menzies, Lord Glennie and Lord Turnbull rejected Mr McConnachie’s submission.

Lord Menzies said: “We are not persuaded that the sentence imposed in this case was excessive or that any miscarriage of justice has taken place.

“We will reject the appeal and we will issue the reasons for the decision in the near future.”

Neil was found guilty of murdering Miss Dorans following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow in November 2018.

He lured the 21-year-old to his flat in Edinburgh’s Hutchison Road on February 11, 2018 by threatening to destroy insurance documents she needed.

Miss Dorans, of Dalkeith, had finished the relationship less than two weeks before but Neil could not accept she had another partner.

Neil assaulted her, strangled her with a cord and murdered her. He also called emergency services after the act and admitted killing her but claimed not to remember what had happened.

Lady Scott sentenced Neil to life imprisonment with a minimum of 19 years.

On Wednesday, Neil wasn’t present in court to hear his lawyer Mr McConnachie address appeal judges. He watched proceedings via a video link from prison.

Mr McConnachie argued that there were signs that Neil displayed remorse for his actions. The lawyer said that an oxygen mask was found close to Miss Dorans’s body and it contained her DNA.

Mr McConnachie added: “From that, you can draw the reasonable inference that he tried to resuscitate her.

“He also phoned the emergency services within the hour of her death and admitted his responsibility for the death of Miss Dorans.

“The learned trial judge was faced with a first offender of a very good previous character with a good work record and who had both physical and mental health problems and who was displaying remorse for what he had done on February 11.

“It is my submission that in balancing these factors the learned trial judge got it wrong and that the punishment part imposed was excessive and what happened amounted to a miscarriage of justice.”

However, the appeal judges disagreed with Mr McConnachie’s submissions. Members of Miss Dorans’s family cheered from the public benches upon hearing the appeal court’s decision.

Speaking after the case outside court, Miss Dorans’s father Keith welcomed the judges’ decision.

He said: “I still think he should have got double what he got originally. But it’s a massive relief that it hasn’t been cut. The whole thing is a charade.

“He is supposed to have shown remorse - but that’s a bare faced lie. I just hope he suffers for a long time in jail”