HE was given the benefit of the doubt by a loving grandparent who offered him stability, encouragement and a life away from persistent offending.

But teenager Stephen Price abused the kindness and trust when his tearaway lifestyle culminated in one of the country's most depraved murders.

Today Price was starting a minimum 15-year detention sentence for the so-called "bloodbath killing" of 24-year-old Scott Burgess in Paisley last year.

The murderer, now aged 20, posed by his dead victim for a mobile phone picture after stabbing him 80 times.

Price's girlfriend Karen Duncan, 17, who was given seven years for culpable homicide, then enlisted her sister to help dump the body in a bath of bleach and water in a crude attempt to conceal the evidence.

Following sentencing yesterday, as reported in later editions of the Evening Times, relatives of Mr Burgess branded Price a "monster" and said the term which was handed down by judge Lord Brodie was a "joke".

As well as the victim's family, one of the most distraught figures at the High Court in Glasgow was Price's step-grandmother, Betty Cunningham, a well-known charity worker and former provost of East Renfrewshire.

Mrs Cunningham, who has made several charity trips to Malawi, was said to be heartbroken by the Price's crime.

She helped raise him, took him in at 16 following family difficulties and tried set him on the straight and narrow.

On one occasion, when Price was 17, she called the police to report his threatening behaviour after he became abusive and threatened to stab her.

He was fined for breach of the peace and despite his empty promise to correct his ways, the incident in 2005 was a haunting prediction of what he would do.

At the time, Mrs Cunningham said she would persevere.

"I don't put up with nonsense," she said. "But I don't give up on those I love either."

Last night, two-and-a-half years later, a family friend said: "The whole family is deeply traumatised by what has happened.

"The family fully accepts that Stephen deserves a long sentence because of what he did. They were stunned by the full details."

Mr Burgess's family reacted angrily after Lord Brodie's sentence, which ordered Price be caged for at least 15 years before being eligible to apply for parole.

One relative said: "He should have got years more. He's got his whole life before him. He'll still be young when he gets out."

As well as being photographed by the body, Price was snapped with girlfriend Duncan on a mobile phone camera as they cavorted in a bath washing Burgess's blood from themselves.

Duncan admitted stabbing Mr Burgess twice with a screwdriver and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Her sister Irene Duncan, 18, who took the picture and helped to try to conceal the body, was sentenced to 27 months' detention after admitting attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Sentencing them, Lord Brodie said: "This was a frenzied and sustained knife assault amounting to at least 80 knife wounds. It was an unprovoked attack on an unarmed man in his own home showing gross level of depravity."

Scott was killed in Glen Street, Paisley, between August 23 and September 6, last year.

Derek Ogg QC told the court there was no motive for the crime other than Price believing Mr Burgess had made derogatory remarks about his friends.

Paul McBride QC, for Price, said his client "wished me to express his heartfelt remorse". Tragic background' had major impact

HIS tearaway lifestyle and troubled upbringing bore the classic signs of a teenager on the slide to a life of crime.

But few expected Stephen Price would be a murderer before he turned 20.

Price's behavioural difficulties, when examined by a psychiatrist following a period of persistent offending in 2005, were said to have stemmed from a "tragic background".

He had been brought up between his family and local authority homeless accommodation, and had been a self-harmer.

He left school with no qualifications and had drifted into the wrong crowd, his nights spent boozing on the streets and creating mischief.

During his regular referrals into the criminal justice system, Price had at times co-operated with social workers and on several occasions vowed to correct his ways.

However his offending repeatedly spiralled out of control, ending with the murder of Scott Burgess last year.

In 2004, Price had moved in with step-grandmother Betty Cunningham following family difficulties. She tried to bring him back on the straight and narrow, but within a matter of months, Mrs Cunningham twice had to call police to her home in Barrhead.

Each time Price hurled abuse at officers and claimed they could not arrest him. And on the second occasion, Price had threatened to stab Mrs Cunningham.

Other crimes recorded in court after Price reached 16 years of age include a string of assaults and anti-social offences.

In September 2004, he assaulted a member of staff while shoplifiting at a Tesco store in Barrhead.

In April 2005, he assaulted a passenger on a bus in Barrhead, and was also convicted of harassment.