An investigation has been ordered into how a man was able to commit a “brutal” murder in Renfrewshire, despite breaching his home release curfew six months earlier.

James Wright was handed a life sentence earlier this week for killing 31-year-old Craig McClelland in a random street attack in Paisley.

And it has emerged that Wright was “unlawfully at large” at the time of the murder, having breached the conditions of his curfew.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has now told MSPs he has asked prison and police watchdogs to “look at this matter thoroughly”.

During sentencing at the High Court in Livingston on Monday, Lord Matthews said he had “no doubt that questions will be asked” about why 25-year-old Wright had been at large to commit the attack on Mr McClelland, a father-of-three.

Wright had breached curfew in February 2017 but was still free last July 23 when he approached Mr McClelland in Tweed Avenue and asked him for a light before stabbing him twice.

Wright had 16 previous convictions, including two for knife crimes, and will serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars.
Mr Matheson said it was “clearly an appalling case” that “raises a number of questions”. 

He added: “To look at this matter thoroughly, I’ve asked both HM Inspector of Prisons and HM Inspector of Constabulary to look at the case to determine whether there are further aspects that can be improved in how they make assessments, in determining whether someone should be provided with home detention curfew (HDC).

“Secondly, to look at whether there are ways in which the police process for investigating such breaches and apprehending such individuals when they have breached a HDC are brought to account and apprehended.

“They will report directly to me and, once we have those reports, we can determine whether there are any further actions that need to be taken.”