The Brechin man who murdered Aberdeen woman Neomi Smith has continued to show no remorse, indulging in “fanciful accounts” to maintain his innocence, a judge has ruled.
Keith Rizzo was given a life sentence of at least 22 years at the High Court in Glasgow following the brutal killing of his girlfriend last June.
The 24-year-old stabbed and choked the care worker in her Brechin flat, then alerted friends – but not the police – to her fatal injuries.
He later claimed a pair of masked men had broken into the property to stage the attack and recover a debt.
A jury unanimously found Rizzo guilty at trial of several assaults against Miss Smith, behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards her, and of forcing entry to her flat and killing her.
He was sentenced to at least 22 years behind bars but appealed the punishment last month.
Rizzo’s bid was rejected by a trio of judges who took just 10 minutes to decide, and their full judgement has now been released.
The appeal centred on the killer’s “self-drive” for rehabilitation.
His representatives claimed he would be in his mid-40s before being able to apply for parole, which would “diminish” his motivation to again contribute to society.
But Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General, refuted this.
In his written judgement, he noted that Rizzo committed an “exceptionally brutal murder on a young woman who had done nothing other than attempt to enjoy herself on the day of the annual Angus show”.
He wrote: “In the current prison and parole regime, and depending no doubt on the offender’s attitude and conduct in prison, that rehabilitation will not commence only when the punishment part has expired.
“It ought to have started, in the form of courses, family and community visits, and ultimately the open prison regime, well in advance of that date.
“The process may be a long and gradual one, but its content ought to provide some prospect of reform at a relatively early stage of the custodial term.”
Lord Carloway said the punishment was severe but appropriate, adding: “As the trial judge observed, the appellant has shown no remorse.
“He has maintained his innocence by reporting fanciful accounts in a hopeless effort to conceal his actions.”