A callous knife thug who carried out an overnight murder bid on a pensioner in her own home grinned at family members as he was jailed for eight years.

Billy Smith repeatedly stabbed Margaret Agnew, who was 69 at the time, in her home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire last October.

She had to undergo lifesaving surgery as a result of the terrifying attack.

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The High Court in Glasgow heard that Smith, 24, targeted the house because Mrs Agnew was continuing to associate with a man he believed was a paedophile.

Smith was said to have been “unimpressed” that Mrs Agnew continued to be in contact with the man - who was in the house that night.

Prosecutor Owen Mullan said the OAP was attacked with a “knife or screwdriver-type implement”.

He added the crime appeared to be a “revenge attack” against the individual known to Mrs Agnew.

Smith stormed into the house and ranted: “I am going to kill you both.”

Mrs Agnew was initially struck on the shoulder and slumped to the ground before being hit again on the body.

Smith, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, then fled. Police soon arrived at the blood-stained property.

Mrs Agnew identified Smith as her attacker.

She suffered six wounds and needed 40 stitches and ended up losing three stone in weight as a result of her ordeal.

Mr Mullan: “Without surgical intervention, she would have died.”

Smith's defence counsel Tony Lenehan said “any malice” the thug had for the woman was “nothing” compared to what he thought of the other individual.

Mr Lenehan added: “He has expressed his remorse for the lady who was seriously injured.”

Smith smiled at members of his family as he was led away to the cells after he admitted attempting to murder Mrs Agnew.

Judge Lord Mulholland told Smith: “This woman required an operation to save her life. Whatever your motivation, you are not entitled to take the law into your own hands."

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“The law of the jungle does not apply in these courts. This lady had done nothing to you.”

Smith, who is assessed as a high risk of re-offending, was also ordered to be monitored in the community for three years after his release from jail.

His new sentence will start at the expiry of a 27-month sentence he is currently serving.