Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Fife man admits stabbing brother to death

Alistair Thomson. Pic by Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Alistair Thomson has admitted killing his brother

A man has admitted stabbing his brother to death after the pair got into a fight following a drinking session.

Alistair Thomson, 43, from Crossgates, Fife, said he stabbed his brother John Pickersgill after the victim struck his head with a sharp object.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that before the attack on 30 January, the brothers had a "close" relationship.

Describing the case as a "very tragic affair", judge Lord Tyre deferred sentence for background reports.

The court was told that Mr Pickersgill, 43, had been drinking with his brother at a friend's house in Cowdenbeath in the hours before the killing.

A witness described how she left the men "bickering" and told them to "get a grip" before she went to bed.

When she awoke some time later, she found the pair involved in a fight in her hallway.

'Extreme provocation'

She described how Mr Pickersgill was on top of Thomson punching him repeatedly.

Thomson was lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs bleeding heavily from a head wound and asked the woman to call police for him.

Advocate depute John Scullion said: "The Crown accepts that during the initial incident the deceased assaulted the accused resulting in him sustaining a significant head injury."

He said medical evidence showed that the head wound was inflicted by a sharp weapon. Doctors later inserted 20 staples to close the wound which had exposed Thompson's skull.

Following the fight, Thomson grabbed a knife and stabbed his brother once in the stomach before leaving the house and heading home.

Mr Pickersgill was later found to have suffered a wound that penetrated the major artery of the aorta resulting in massive bleeding.

Thomson was taken to the same hospital as his brother, who was suffering from the head injury.

John Pickersgill died shortly after he arrived at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.

When police arrived at the hospital to detain Thomson he put his head in his hands and said: "So I've killed my brother?"

During interviews, Thomson told police he did not mean to kill his brother, but had been angry because of what had happened. He told them he was not "a fighter".

Defence agent Herbert Kerrigan QC said Thomson had acted under "extreme provocation" and added: "He will bear the consequences of that for the rest of his life."

Lord Tyre deferred sentence on Thomson for culpable homicide, but rejected a move to allow him to remain at liberty and remanded him in custody.

The judge said: "I have listened carefully to what Mr Kerrigan said and in particular the impact of this very tragic affair on your family, however I am not persuaded I should continue bail."

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