THE family of murdered Johnstone man Steven Quail say “they will never move on” despite his killer being jailed for life.

At the High Court in Edinburgh last week, Darren O’Neill, 34, was ordered to serve at least 17 years for the brutal murder – during which he inflicted 25 knife wounds on his victim in the fatal attack at his home.

Judge Lady Scott said the attack had been excessive, cruel and merciless, and had left the victim’s family “devastated and bereft.”

Steven, 42, was found dead in the hall of his house after suffering huge internal bleeding when a friend turned up to visit him hours after the deadly assault.

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

Speaking exclusively to The Gazette following the sentencing, Steven’s family spoke of how the brutal murder will always haunt them, and they believe justice will never be served as long as O’Neill is alive.

Steven’s sister Tracey Meikle, 37, said the family had shown up together to watch the sentencing,

She said: “There were three rows of seats for us – I went with my mum, brother, some of the older kids, cousins, my aunt and uncle.

“It was very nerve-wracking and I felt sick with nerves – my stomach was turning knowing I was in the same building as Darren.

“Even before the judge gave him his sentencing, I always knew that no matter what it was, it would never be enough.

“I believe it should be a life for a life – he doesn’t deserve to be alive after killing our Steven.”

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 said that Steven wanted to see their daughter Ava’s computer tablet and that “he was trying to take Ava’s tablet”.

The court heard that a cluster of stab wounds found on Steven’s back suggested that he had been incapacitated when they were inflicted.

Some of the injuries to bones on Steven’s body indicated that severe force had been used and others that the victim had tried to defend himself from the lethal attack.

Tracey said: “In court we wanted to do our best to put across that Steven was a good person.

“The thing that really got to us is the fact that he [O’Neill] lied and Steven wasn’t there to defend himself.

“When he said that Steven pulled a knife on him we knew he would never do that as he is not a confrontational person.

“It upset us that he was making out that Steven was a bad person but we all know he would never threaten anyone.

“Having to relive it all has been very upsetting for us as they pointed out each individual injury again.

“It brought it all back to us and made me think about him struggling and scared again.”

Although he had no children of his own, Steven doted on his 16 nieces and nephews.

He was also close with his mum Theresa, 64, and siblings Ian, 46, Tracey, 37, Deborah, 36, and 34-year-old Gordon.

Trying to move froward from their agony, Tracey and her mum are attending therapy sessions and the kids are receiving counselling.

Tracey said: “Steven always told the kids to make an effort in school so they are going to try their best to make him proud.

“The pain will never end for us though and I don’t think that justice has been served.

“Darren should never be allowed to walk the streets again.

“Why should he get to live when he took Steven’s life away?

“I would not have shown him any mercy at all – it breaks my heart that he left Steven to die and I think the same should be done to him.

“It is too easy in prison, and it is so unfair that he will be out one day.

“While I am glad he is in prison, it doesn’t seem like we will ever have closure as we don’t have Steven with us anymore.”

O’Neill’s sentence was reduced from 19 years for his guilty plea.