Convicted killer Andrew Ralston jailed over dog poo attack

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A convicted killer who attacked a man in South Lanarkshire after he complained about dog fouling has been jailed for four years.

Andrew Ralston assaulted 50-year-old William Crichton with his own walking stick in Larkhall on 18 December 2011.

The 30-year-old originally faced an attempted murder charge but pleaded guilty to assault to severe injury.

Ralston was previously jailed for four years for culpable homicide over a fatal attack in 2001.

Jailing him at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Scott told Ralston: "You have pled guilty to a serious offence which requires a substantial period of imprisonment.

'Sustained assault'

"However this offence started it became a nasty and sustained assault on a vulnerable man who was lying defenceless on the ground.

"It involved 15 or more repeated blows to the victim's head, limbs and body with a stick."

Lady Scott said the victim has been left badly affected by the attack on him.

The judge said she also had to take into account that Ralston had a previous conviction for culpable homicide.

She told Ralston that he would have faced a six-year jail term for the latest attack, but for his early guilty plea.

She said she was satisfied that that there was a significant risk to the public in his case and ordered that he should be supervised for a further two years after his release.

During a previous hearing, the High Court in Glasgow was told that Mr Crichton became annoyed when he saw Ralston's dog fouling his garden.

Ralston shouted back and asked what he was going to do about it.

He then took the walking stick from Mr Crichton before attacking him with it.

Fractured arm

He repeatedly struck Mr Crichton on the head, limbs and body while shouting that he was going to kill him.

A witness saw Mr Crichton lie prone on the ground while Ralston hit him at least 15 times with the walking stick.

The victim sustained four cuts to the top of his head, a fracture to his right forearm and bruising to his knees and wrists.

He suffered pain and mobility problems for some time after the attack.

It later emerged that Ralston served four years in detention after being convicted of culpable homicide in 2001.

Ralston and others intervened when Sandy Ralton, 19, poured vodka over his girlfriend and threatened to set her on fire.

Mr Ralton died from a blow with a baseball bat, which burst an artery in his neck.

Robert Cunningham, 37, from Larkhall, Lanarkshire, who wielded the bat, was jailed for five years after he admitted culpable homicide.

Ralston, then 19, was jailed after lashing out at Mr Ralton with a hammer after mistaking a mobile phone on his belt for a knife.

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