Vampire man who killed best friend is jailed for life

A man obsessed with vampires who said he murdered his best friend because he thought it would make him immortal was jailed for life yesterday.

Judge Roderick MacDonald told 22-year-old Allan Menzies he should serve at least 18 years before being considered for parole. A jury at the High Court, Edinburgh, convicted Menzies, of Fauldhouse, West Lothian, of murdering Thomas McKendrick, 21, also of Fauldhouse. He was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Menzies had denied both counts but did admit culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility, a plea rejected by the Crown.

During the trial, the court heard that after killing his friend at home last December, Menzies dumped his corpse in a wheelie bin outside his home and later buried him in a shallow grave in nearby woodland.

After the trial, his solicitor, Aamar Anwar, said the case highlighted the social stigma surrounding mental health. "The continued taboo and the lack of understanding or support of schizophrenia and mental health in our community can only mean tragedies like this are more likely to happen, not less." The judge branded Menzies an "evil and dangerous psychopath". He said: "Three psychologists have diagnosed you as a psychopath. In my opinion, you are an evil, violent and highly dangerous man who is not fit to be at liberty. You subjected Thomas McKendrick to a savage and merciless attack. You totally lack remorse."

The judge also ordered that Menzies serves three years for attempting to defeat the aims of justice, which will run concurrently with his life sentence.

The court had been told he had become obsessed with the film The Queen Of The Damned, which he had watched more than 100 times in the months before the killing.

Menzies claimed the film's main character, a female vampire called Akasha, used to visit his bedroom and the pair had struck a deal in which he would achieve immortality if he killed people.

The former security guard said he snapped when his friend insulted the vampire, played by the late US singer Aaliyah, battered him over the head and repeatedly stabbed him to death.

Menzies told the court that after he killed Mr McKendrick, he became a vampire and was immortal.He had claimed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he attacked his best friend.

A report from a psychiatric consultant supported his claims. But three other experts rejected this diagnosis and told the court Menzies was not a schizophrenic but was suffering from an anti-social personality disorder.

He was a "vivid fantasist" but this was not evidence of a mental illness, the doctors said.

Menzies told two police officers who were driving him to his first court appearance he would "get 20 to 25 years". One of them, Detective Constable Robert Lowe, told the court: "He said, 'How do you think things will go today? I'm going to get 20 to 25 for this, for doing him with a hammer and my Bowie knife. But I got his soul'."

The jury was told Menzies, who changed his first name to Leon to "honour" the assassin from the film, had become increasingly obsessed with vampires. When police raided his home in January they found videos, including The Queen Of The Damned, and one of the Vampire Chronicles books, Blood And Gold by Anne Rice, on which various passages had been handwritten, many of them with misspelt.

Pages of the book were shown to the jury, including one on which had been written: "The blood is the life, I have drunk the blood and it shall be mine, for I have seen horror."

Outside court, Mr McKendrick's distressed sister , Sandra-Mary, 23, said: "[Menzies] got what he deserved. I believe he was not mentally ill; it was just an act."