Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Man jailed for killing stranger over handbag mistake in West Lothian

Mariusz Winiarski (L) and Brian Stirling (R) Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Mariusz Winiarski (L) attacked Brian Stirling (R) in King Street, Bathgate

A man who killed a stranger with a single punch after wrongly thinking he was stealing in West Lothian has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Mariusz Winiarski, 35, attacked Brian Stirling, 54, in King Street, Bathgate, on 17 December last year.

Winiarski saw Mr Stirling looking into a woman's handbag and thought he was stealing from her.

At the High Court in Glasgow judge Lord Burns told Winiarski he would be deported at the end of his sentence.

Lord Burns told first offender Winiarski: "No sentence that I can impose can bring Mr Stirling back to his family or his long-term partner.

"He was much loved and his partner and family are devastated by his death."

The judge said that but for Winiarski's early plea of guilty the sentence would have been one of four years.

Defence counsel John Scullion, said: "Mr Winiarski's initial reaction was Mr Stirling was stealing from her.

"He accepts he was entirely wrong and accepts full responsibility for the tragic consequences of his actions."

Winiarski was charged with murder but admitted the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

He admitted killing Mr Stirling, from Bathgate, by punching him on the head, causing him to fall to the ground and strike his head.

The court heard that Winiarski waited at the scene until police arrived and placed Mr Stirling in the recovery position.

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