A notorious killer who stabbed an Aberdeen man to death then tried to hack off his head died in prison of a heart attack, an inquiry has ruled.
Jeffrey Cattell, who was dubbed Dracula during his trial at the Old Bailey in London, murdered and mutilated his neighbour James Milne – known as Scottish Jim – in an alcohol-fueled rage in June 1997.
At the murder scene in Maidstone, horrified detectives discovered an attempt had been made to cut off Mr Milne’s head and his body had been butchered with a pair of scissors.
After being found guilty of the killing in 1999 Cattell was serving out his life sentence at HMP Shotts in North Lanarkshire.
On April 6 2020, Cattell – who was 61 – collapsed at the prison and was later pronounced dead by paramedics.
Heart disease and respiratory failure
A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) probed the murderer’s final movements and treatment while locked up and examined CCTV evidence.
On the day he died, a nurse and prison officer noticed Cattell was short or out of breath and his skin colour was pale.
He suffered a heart attack, heart disease and respiratory failure, according to Sheriff Thomas Shanks Millar’s determination.
His FAI concluded “no precautions could reasonably have been taken which might realistically have resulted in the death being avoided”.
The hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court on October 28 last year heard how nurses observed that Mr Cattell had been incontinent and attempted to provide treatment by providing 15 litres of oxygen via a trauma mask.
The FAI findings state: “Mr Cattell’s breathing was slow and shallow, his lips were cyanosed and he was foaming at the mouth.
“Attempts to treat Mr Cattell continued and a pulse oximeter was placed on his finger which showed no radial or carotid pulse.
“No reading or heart rate was displayed and no chest movements could be detected.”
Horrifying scene met detectives
The grisly killing in Mr Milne’s own home in Inverness House, Shepway, Maidstone, shocked even seasoned detectives.
Detective Inspector Mick Judge told the murder trial at the Old Bailey: “It was one of the worst things I have come across in 15 years of policing.”
When the body was found, a knife was alongside it. Two other knives – one broken – were in the kitchen and a pair of scissors was found in a bin.
A fingerprint on the broken knife was later matched to Cattell’s right ring finger.
Throughout his incarceration, Cattell insisted he was innocent and a victim of a miscarriage of justice.
His lawyers had suggested that drug dealers may have been behind the brutal death of his neighbour who was stabbed more than 70 times.
It was reported Mr Milne, from Aberdeen, had suffered stab wounds to the neck and other parts of his body were dismembered.
Detectives were baffled by the motive, which remains unknown to this day.
Detectives baffled by the motive
The court had heard that on the day of the murder Mr Milne and a friend were drinking lager in his flat.
Prosecutor Victor Temple said: “The defendant was clearly affected by drink and drugs on the day in question and we will never know what was said between the defendant and Milne before the incident.”
Several years ago, Cattell – who had previous convictions for violence – launched a campaign appealing for witnesses to come forward and help him prove his innocence.