A killer was jailed for life today after brutally stabbing a man to death who he claimed was trying to take his daughter's tablet.

Darren O'Neill, 34, was ordered to serve at least 17 years for murdering Steven Quail after inflicting 25 knife wounds on his victim in the fatal attack at his home.

Mr Quail, 42, was found dead in the hall of his house after suffering a large amount of internal bleeding when a woman friend turned up to visit him hours after the deadly assault.

Unemployed O'Neill earlier admitted murdering Mr Quail at the house in Greenend Avenue, Johnstone, on February 25 this year by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a knife.

O'Neill, who stayed in the same street as his victim, returned home in the early hours of the morning and told his girlfriend Keri McPhee: "I've stabbed a guy."

He later revealed he had stabbed Mr Quail whom he knew as "Quaily". Advocate depute Jo McDonald said: "He told her that 'Quaily' wanted to see their daughter Ava's computer tablet and that 'He was trying to take Ava's tablet'."

Benefit claimant O'Neill, who acted as his girlfriend's carer, added: "I don't want to go to jail."

A judge told O'Neill at the High Court in Edinburgh: "On any view this was a ferocious and merciless attack."

Lady Scott said: "The attack upon your victim was excessive, cruel and murderous."

The judge told O'Neill: "The deceased was well loved by his family who have been left devastated and bereft."

But Lady Scott added that she accepted O'Neill was not the instigator of the incident and that Mr Quail had brought out a knife which he managed to take off him.

Drug user O'Neill told a friend after the murder that he had ended up killing someone. O'Neill, who had appeared calm, said that Mr Quail had gone into the kitchen and returned with a knife and tried to stab him.

He said that he had then used the weapon to attack his victim and claimed that he stabbed him "about 10 times".

The court heard that a cluster of stab wounds found on Mr Quail's back suggested that he had been incapacitated when they were inflicted. Some of the injuries to bones on the dead man's body indicated that severe force had been used and others that the victim had tried to defend himself from the lethal attack.

Defence counsel John Scullion QC said that O'Neill was prescribed the heroin substitute methadone and had been using valium at the time of the crime.

He said: "It was the use of valium which led to the drug debt that led to this incident."

Mr Scullion said that O'Neill had explained that violence was initiated by the deceased when he refused to hand over the tablet as part of a drug debt.

He said: "The accused's position is that he did not intend to kill Mr Quail."

The defence counsel said there was no gap in events between O'Neill disarming his victim and then inflicting the wounds to him.

Mr Scullion said: "The violence was not premeditated and indeed, it was initiated by the deceased. It is also significant that the weapon used in the incident was introduced by the deceased."

He said O'Neill had expressed regret over his actions and realised that if and when he is ultimately released from prison will be determined by the parole board.

Lady Scott told the killer that she had reduced his minimum jail term from 19 years following his guilty plea to murder.