Jail for 'cigarette pest' killer

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Laird was originally charged with murder over the fatal attack

A teenager who admitted killing a man after pestering him for a cigarette has been jailed for four years.

Jason Laird was 15-years-old when he set upon Robert Malcolm, 58, in Clydebank, on 10 July 2009.

He originally faced a murder charge but the Crown accepted his plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

At the High Court in Livingston, judge Lord Matthews told the 16-year-old he could not ignore the fact he had caused the death of a person through violence.

The court heard how Laird had drunk cider with friends on the evening of the attack.

He later met Mr Malcolm at a bus stop and asked for a cigarette before following him to a grassed area and launching his attack.

Mr Malcolm was left unconscious after being punched, kicked and knocked to the ground.

He died two weeks later having originally been taken to hospital suffering from severe facial swelling.

The cause of death was found to have been a haemorrhage in his stomach and blunt force injury to the head.

Sentencing Laird, Lord Matthews said: "The mechanism of death was somewhat unusual, the ultimate cause being a pre-existing chronic ulcer but the head injuries which Mr Malcolm suffered contributed to that, and had he not suffered those injuries then all things being equal he would still be with us today.

"The Crown was unable to say how many blows were inflicted, and I take account of the fact that although there was significant bruising there were no fractures to the face and head, which gives some idea of the force used.

"Apart from your use of alcohol you have led a useful life up till now, but despite your youth and previous good character I cannot ignore the fact that you caused the death of another human being through violence."

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