THE partner of a man who was brutally murdered by his best friend has insisted the cowardly killer “had to pay for what he did.”

Mharie Kissell spoke to The Gazette after William Cameron was jailed for life last week for killing Darryl Fitch on a camping trip.

Cameron, 39, smashed 43-year-old Darryl over the head with a blunt instrument, causing him to fall from height into water.

The savage attack, which took place at the Locher Water, near Bridge of Weir, in July 2015, left Darryl with four huge wounds to the back of his head.

Mharie, who had been Darryl’s partner for seven years at the time of the murder, said it is a relief to see Cameron behind bars.

“It was the right verdict and he should pay for what he did,” added 36-year-old Mharie.

“I’m not a witch hunter-type person. I didn’t think ‘anyone would do’ – I wanted the person who did it to be held responsible.

“I thought about every single piece of evidence and, for 17 of the 18 pieces that were given, I saw two sides to it but there was one where I just felt he could not give a reasonable explanation.

“It was when he said he fell from a ledge and he didn’t see Darryl. He said it in his statement and showed police a picture of the ledge but then, in court, they showed a picture of Darryl below the exact same ledge and he just freaked out.

“That’s when I knew he had done it.

“I think Darryl’s family felt it was the right decision too and felt so much relief.

“I think for all of us, though, we just didn’t understand why he didn’t tell the truth from the start.

“It would have saved so much hassle.

“His lawyer said he had fallen into a state of false denial where he was just carrying on like nothing had happened.”

Judge Lord Mulholland said Cameron, of Paisley, had “spun a web of deceit to try and hide his actions from law enforcement agencies.”

He ordered him to serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

The court was told that Darryl, also of Paisley, suffered 26 separate injuries, including a black eye, a fractured eye socket, five broken ribs and a fractured neck bone.

His body was found by two fisherman on Monday, July 13, 2015, in shallow water near the campsite he had shared with Cameron.

Darryl was lying face down with severe wounds to the back of his head.

Pathologist Dr Marjorie Turner told the jurors he also had injuries consistent with falling from height.

She said the cause of death was massive blood loss from the head injuries and drowning.

The High Court in Glasgow heard police found Cameron sitting yards away with a broken leg and suffering from suspected hypothermia and dehydration.

The court also heard that, although Cameron had a whistle and Darryl’s mobile phone to hand, he did not use them to summon help.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard said in court: “He had the phone and heard it ringing. Why would an innocent person not use the phone to call emergency services?

“A picture emerges of a man who didn’t want to attract attention to himself in the immediate aftermath of the death of Darryl Fitch.”

Cameron said his memory of the trip was vague and denied murdering Darryl, who he described as “like a brother.”

He also said they took Valium and drank before setting up camp and told the jurors he could not put the tent up, adding: “Darryl just laughed at me.”

Cameron claimed that, as they sat round a camp fire on stools, he heard a rustling sound behind him.

He added: “It spooked me. There was a path behind us. I was hit on the back of my head and fell forward. It was like a flash.

“I was scared. I was panicking. I remember Darryl jumping up beside me and shouting ‘Run Willie or go Willie.’”

Cameron said he scrambled up the embankment and the last time he saw Darryl was as he glanced back and noticed he was standing “in a boxing stance.”

The court was told the next thing he remembered was falling and being in pain.

Cameron said that, when he woke up, there was no sign of Darryl and he assumed he had gone for chips or gone home.

Mharie said she could never have foreseen Cameron murdering her partner but admitted she was unsurprised at the way he acted during the trial.

She added: “I met him straight away because he always came round to visit Darryl.

“They had a good relationship and never argued or fought. I got the impression he looked up to Darryl like a big brother.

“Darryl was a quiet person but, once you were friends with him, he would do anything for you.

“I did find him [Cameron] a bit irritating. He constantly apologised for everything but I never would have known in a million years he would kill Darryl.

“After they [the police] told me, it took me months to come to terms with it.

“I didn’t believe him when he said he didn’t remember what happened. The lies he told were one on top of the other.

“He did not seem like a violent person and, for a while, I thought there had to be a third person involved.

“He did not want to face up to what he had done but he was always cowardly and a bit of a storyteller.”