Glasgow & West Scotland

Father and son jailed over dead pigeon feud killing

Alexander Gallagher senior and junior
Image caption The Gallaghers were originally charged with murder

A father and son who admitted killing a man in Glasgow following a long-running feud over dead racing pigeons have each been jailed for 10 years.

Alexander Gallagher, 51, and Alexander Gallagher junior, 29, pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide of 27-year-old Gavin Wright in August 2004.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how the victim suffered multiple skull fractures and 17 stab wounds.

Both Gallaghers were ordered to be monitored for five years on release.

The court heard how the Gallagher and Wright families were involved in a long-running feud which began when racing pigeons were found dead in a loft.

Mr Wright, of Law Street, Barrowfield, and another man vandalised the Gallagher's car with an axe on 9 August 2004.

Gallagher junior was struck by pellets after a gun was fired, but not seriously injured.

Gallagher junior and his accomplice then chased Mr Wright and when he tripped and fell they repeatedly hit him with a machete.

During the attack Gallagher senior shouted encouragement from a window of the family home.

He said he hoped that Mr Wright would die during the attack and urged his son and the other man to "go back and finish him off".

The court heard that in 2005 the Gallaghers were both convicted of murdering Mr Wright and ordered to serve at least 15 years in jail before being eligible for parole.

But after the trial, detailed examination of CCTV footage cast serious doubts on two witnesses and the Appeal Court quashed the convictions.

Reduced charge

The Crown was given authority to raise fresh proceedings against father and son.

They were due to go to trial accused of murder when the Crown accepted their pleas to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Passing sentence, temporary judge Bill Dunlop QC told both Gallaghers: "I see no reason to distinguish between you as far as sentence is concerned.

"The ferocity and tenacity of your response to the provocation puts this at the high end of the scale for culpable homicide.

"I am anxious to protect the public from you. On your release you will be monitored in the community for five years on licence and if you commit an offence during that time you will be returned to prison."

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