A NOTORIOUS criminal from Ayr who slashed a ‘proper heavy sex offender’ during a prison religious service has been jailed for seven and a half years.

James Faulds, 29, attacked 84-year-old Michael Murphy after a fellow inmate at Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison told him that he was serving time for sex offences.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Faulds, who is serving life for violent crimes, suddenly felt “weird” and then approached his victim at the end of the get together.

Faulds, a practising Muslim, grabbed Murphy and cut his throat. Prison staff then rushed to separate the pair and Murphy was taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

Doctors found that Murphy’s injury wasn’t life threatening. He was sent back to prison shortly afterwards.

On Monday, judge Lord Pentland told Faulds that custody was the only sentence available to him.

He added: “I have listened to everything which has been said on your behalf this morning and I have also considered your record of previous offending.

“You have a history of violent offending. You hare a highly dangerous man who poses a substantial risk to the public and to your fellow inmates.

“The sentence will be seven years and six months.”

The story emerged after Faulds, originally of Ayr, pleaded guilty to assaulting Murphy at Saughton Prison on April 28 2018 by striking him on the neck to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

It is not the first time that Faulds, who has swastika tattoos, has appeared in the high court.

Judge Lord Bracadale gave Faulds an order for lifelong restriction in September 2011 after he was convicted of torturing Andrew Allan at a flat in Ayr over a £60 debt.

He was previously jailed for beating a deer to death at a petting zoo.

On Monday, prosecution lawyer Kath Harper told the court that the offence took place during a multi faith service at Saughton.

She said that mainstream prison inmates sat on one side of the hall whilst sex offenders sat on the other side of the hall.

Faulds attacked Murphy at the end of the service with a blade which had been attached to a piece of plastic.

Ms Harper told the court that following the attack, Faulds was heard speaking on the telephone to a person outside the prison.

Ms Harper added: “He was heard to say that he cut the c***’s throat up in the chapel. The accused was heard to say he was a proper heavy sex offender.”

Defence solicitor advocate Ann Ogg told the court that her client was a practising Muslim who had been moved to Saughton from HMP Grampian after being caught there with a weapon.

Ms Ogg told the court that he attacked Murphy because he knew women who had been victims of sexual abuse.

She added: “A fellow prisoner told him about the ‘beasts’ sitting across from him. Mr Faulds describes having a ‘weird feeling’ and then acting.

“Following the assault, he did was what was instructed of him. He didn’t resist the prison officers and stopped immediately.

“He understands the offence which he committed is serious.”

Judge Lord Pentland told Faulds that he had no other option but to impose another prison sentence.

He added: “You have pleaded guilty to a vicious assault of an elderly man. You armed yourself with an improvised weapon.”