A VIOLENT thug who stabbed a dad-of-three to death in an unprovoked attack has been convicted of murder.

James Wright, 25, is facing a life sentence for killing 31-year-old Craig McClelland in Tweed Avenue, Paisley, on July 23 last year.

His co-accused Stuart McLellan, 28, from Renfrew, was cleared of murder as the jury returned a verdict of not proven against him.

As Mr McLellan was released from the dock today, Wright told him: “I'll get you, you f***ing rat.”

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Wright stabbed Craig twice just seconds after asking him for a light.

Judge Lord Matthews told Wright: “The jury has convicted you of a most appalling murder on a decent family man going about his business.

"For no reason whatsoever, you deprived a family of his company.”

Lord Matthews told Wright, who is also known as Jamie McNamara, that he is facing a life sentence.

Sentence was deferred to the High Court at Livingston on June 4, when the amount of time Wright must serve in jail before being eligible for parole will be determined.

The court heard that Craig, who was on his way to see a pal and play computer games, was fatally stabbed through the heart and bled to death.

He left his home in the Foxbar area of Paisley at 11.15pm after spending the night chatting with his partner about a forthcoming holiday and watching television.

Minutes later, he lay dying in the street.

Family man Craig called for an ambulance himself at 11.20pm and, as paramedics tended him, he told them the names of his partner and children, pleading with them: “Don't let me die.”

Wright, from Paisley, and his co-accused had been thrown out of a party in Foxbar that night.

They split up and Wright attacked Craig.

Wright did not give evidence but Mr McLellan went into the witness box and blamed his co-accused for the brutal killing.

He said: “I am standing here for a murder I never done because of that rat.”

Prosecutor Paul Brown said: “Mr Wright has 16 previous convictions, including two for possession of knives."