Glasgow & West Scotland

Teenager faces jail for killing man with single punch

James Crossan Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James Crossan arriving at the High Court in Glasgow

A teenager who killed a father-of-three with a single punch after a night out in Paisley is facing jail.

James Crossan, 18, attacked stranger Jonathan McEwan, 33, after leaving a nightclub in April.

Mr McEwan never recovered after hitting his head and being knocked unconscious as a result of the blow.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Crossan discovered on social media that the chef had died and sobbed as he told his mother: "I don't believe this."

The apprentice plumber was in tears as he pled guilty to a culpable homicide charge.

Family devastated

A judge heard how the death has shattered Jonathan's family - with his mum missing a "hug" from her beloved son.

Crossan, a first time offender, had his bail continued but he was warned he faces jail when he is sentenced in December.

Some of Mr McEwan's relatives were in court to hear the circumstances of the fatal attack.

Image copyright Police handout/Google
Image caption Jonathan McEwan was not known to his attacker

Crossan and his victim were not known to each other and had been out separately with friends at clubs in Paisley.

They both ended up standing in the town's busy New Street about 03:00 on 22 April.

It was there Mr McEwan allegedly gave a "nasty look" to someone who was with Crossan.

The court heard this "prompted" Crossan and a friend to confront him.

Crossan was initially described as approaching Mr McEwan "aggressively".

The teenager then moved away before returning to hit his victim.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC explained: "He punched him to the left side of his head causing him to fall to the ground."

The advocate depute said Mr McEwan then lay "motionless and obviously unconscious."

The court was shown CCTV of the attack but the victim's distressed family left before the clip was played.

Mr McEwan was left bleeding in the street as Crossan ran home to tell his mother he had been in a fight.

The killer later learned online from friends that his victim had not survived.

Police confession

Mr McSporran told the court: "He was distraught saying: 'I don't believe this - pray this boy has not died'."

Crossan, also of Paisley, contacted police himself and confessed to "striking" Mr McEwan once.

Mr McSporran: "He said he had no intention of hurting him."

Mr McEwan died two days later in hospital having suffered a fatal brain injury.

The court was told his loss had left a "big gap" in his family's life.

In a victim impact statement, his mother said she missed a "hug" and a "blether" with her son.

Crossan's QC stated the apprentice plumber had "acted rashly" that night and "without justification".

John Scullion, defending, added: "He understands the devastating impact and apologies for the continued pain that he has caused."

Lord Burns deferred sentencing for reports.

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