Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

John Auld killing: Men jailed over death of East Lothian takeaway driver

Michael Sutherland (L) and Steven Archibald (R)
Image caption Michael Sutherland and Steven Archibald killed John Auld after a row over wet paint

Two men who killed an East Lothian delivery driver after a row over wet paint have been jailed.

Steven Archibald, 37, and Michael Sutherland, 31, admitted the culpable homicide of John Auld in Tranent.

He had come to the aid of takeaway owner Brahim Hamouda, who was attacked by the pair after they got paint on their clothes in his takeaway.

Mr Auld, 59, who had a heart condition, collapsed and died at the scene after being punched and kicked by the duo.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Archibald, from Musselburgh, was jailed for five years and three months and Sutherland, from Wallyford, was jailed for six years.

The court heard that Sutherland had been angry at getting paint stains on his jacket on 4 March last year, despite warnings that the premises had been newly painted.

He climbed over the counter and attacked Brahim Hamouda at Kopas Takeaway, punching and kicking him.

Image caption John Auld collapsed and died after being struck repeatedly by the two men

Mr Hamouda, 52, ran from the premises but Mr Auld, who had been outside, went to his aid.

Archibald and Sutherland turned on the former soldier, punching him and pinning him against walls before kicking him to the head and body and striking his head against a window.

Passing sentence, judge Lord Uist told them: "This was a completely unjustified and wholly deplorable episode of violence which resulted in an innocent man losing his life."

The judge said: "I accept you did not intend to kill him and that his death was not directly brought about by any of the injuries which you inflicted on him, but by a heart attack caused by the physiological stress of the incident."

But he said "considerable violence" had been used against the victim and added: "When you engage in violence of this sort you never know what the consequences will be."

'Punching and kicking'

Advocate depute Richard Goddard earlier told the court that it appeared from witness statements both men struck Mr Auld, from Ormiston, in East Lothian at least 10 times.

Archibald and Sutherland were originally charged with murdering Mr Auld following the assault but the Crown earlier accepted their guilty pleas to the charge of culpable homicide.

Both admitted killing him by repeatedly punching and kicking him, pushing him against a window and striking his head against it.

Sutherland also admitted assaulting Mr Hamouda at the takeaway by punching and kicking him on the head and body.

Fatal injuries

Defence counsel, Derek Ogg, for Archibald, said the offence was "wholly out of character" and he was shocked at his behaviour and its consequences.

Donald Findlay QC, for Sutherland, said his client's expressions of regret were "undoubtedly genuine".

Det Insp Gary Boyd, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "Michael Sutherland and Steven Archibald became involved in a heated disturbance with a takeaway owner over a minor issue and immediately began to use violence.

"When Mr Auld came to the man's aid, the pair turned their attack on him to such an extent that the injuries he sustained proved fatal.

"Both have shown themselves to be cold and callous individuals who were only too happy to resort to violence, which on this occasion had tragic consequences.

"Their guilty pleas for culpable homicide reflect the overwhelming evidence against them for this attack and it is my sincere hope that Mr Auld's family can now draw a line under this horrific ordeal."

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