A THUG who murdered his partner in a "horrendous and brutal attack" confessed to cops: "I killed my soulmate". 

John-Paul McLaughlan, 53, left Stacey Warnock with more than 50 injuries during a brutal knife attack at their home in Barra Drive, Airdrie, in the week before Christmas 2022.

The 51-year-old's body lay in a bath for days before colleagues of construction worker McLaughlan made the grim discovery when they went to visit him.

Glasgow Times: John-Paul McLaughlanJohn-Paul McLaughlan (Image: Police Scotland)He today appeared at the High Court in Glasgow where he pleaded guilty to murder.

McLaughlan - who had a previous conviction for violence - was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 17 years behind bars.

Following the hearing, Detective Inspector Campbell Jackson said: “This was a horrendous and brutal attack involving a high level of violence. John McLaughlan took Stacey’s life and will now face the consequences.

“While this conviction cannot change what has happened I hope it will give Stacey’s family and friends some closure.

“Violence like this has no place in our society and Police Scotland will continue to work to bring those responsible for this kind of crime to justice.”

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Prosecutor Lorraine Glancy KC today narrated the horrific details of the killing.

As she did so, McLaughlan sat in the dock with his hands over his ears for most of the hearing. He also started sobbing at times.

The court heard the couple had initially started dating in 1998, then split, but rekindled the relationship in 2010 and moved in together four years later.

Miss Glancy said there were "frequent arguments" between the pair.

They were last seen together on the night of December 16, 2022, when a supermarket delivery driver made a drop off.

A neighbour was aware of them being home that night.

She heard noises the next morning including "a thump". It was quiet for the rest of the weekend and the woman reckoned the couple must have been out.

Glasgow Times: StaceyStacey (Image: Police Scotland)However, it was during this time, McLaughlan sent a workmate a series of "bizarre" messages.

In one he claimed: "Stacey is gone. She cannot handle it. She cannot move."

Neighbours went to his home over that weekend to give him jump leads as he claimed to have an issue with his car.

McLaughlan was described as "unkempt and gaunt".

Miss Glancy said: "[When] asked where Stacey Warnock was, he said she was inside sleeping."

The messages meantime continued to his building colleague.

Miss Glancy said they were "at times rambling", but that he "indicated he had killed Stacey and had tried to kill himself".

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Two of his workmates then turned up at the house on December 20.

McLaughlan stated to them: "I need a lawyer. She is dead. She has been dead since Saturday.

"Do not phone the police until I get my defence sorted."

The men entered the bloodbath and Stacey was discovered slumped in the bath already dead.

Asked how he killed her, McLaughlan claimed it "did not matter".

When held by police, he then said: "What you cuffing me for? It was self defence.

"I did it. I used the same knife to hurt myself. It is in my bedside cabinet.

"She is still dead and I done it."

He made further incriminating comments at the police station.

McLaughlan said: "Defence, whatever you want to call it, it is not acceptable.

"I killed my soulmate. I have not hidden any evidence. The clothes it happened in are lying in the bedroom.

"I have nothing to hide."

Miss Warnock had at least 58 injuries to her head, neck and body.

John Scullion KC, defending, said McLaughlan had "no recollection of the fatal attack".

He added the killer claimed to have only a "fractured memory of an argument" in which Miss Warnock allegedly threw an iron at him.

Lord Doherty said the minimum sentence would have been 19 years, but for the guilty plea.

The judge told McLaughlan: "There is no escaping this was a brutal, merciless and sustained attack on your partner."

The court was earlier told that Miss Warnock had been born in America and moved here with her mum when she was four.

Her father and step-sister remain in the USA.