Tayside and Central Scotland

James Duguid jailed for killing Stirling war hero John Gillespie

James Duguid
Image caption James Duguid was found guilty of culpable homicide

A man has been jailed for seven years for killing an 88-year-old war veteran in an attempted robbery in Stirling.

James Duguid, 51, attacked former Royal Navy sailor John Gillespie with his own walking stick after demanding money from him on 19 April last year. He died six days later in hospital.

Duguid was convicted of culpable homicide last month after a trial.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Scott described his actions as "inexplicable".

She added: "It is clear your conduct has left the Gillespie family bereft."

Unemployed Duguid waved to relatives, one of whom was in tears, as he was led to the cells.

During the trial, the court had heard that Mr Gillespie had been out for a walk when the Duguid confronted him and demanded his wallet.

The veteran, who was mentioned in dispatches for his conduct in World War II, resisted.

Wedding anniversary

But his attacker seized his walking stick and struck Mr Gillespie with it.

The 88-year-old fell to the ground and broke his hip. He died six days later in hospital, on his 64th wedding anniversary.

Image caption John Gillespie died in hospital shortly after the attack in Lovers Walk in Stirling

Duguid had denied murdering Mr Gillespie in the attack, which took place at a pedestrian underpass at the junction of Lovers Walk, Riverside, Wallace Street and Union Street.

He told the court that he had not seen Mr Gillespie.

However, the jury convicted him of the lesser charge of culpable homicide on a majority verdict after almost three hours of deliberations.

He was also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of the stick, which was later found in undergrowth.

In a statement, Mr Gillespie's family said people in Scotland should have the "unassailable right" to walk the streets "without fear".

They added: "Our family express our gratitude to the countless members of the Stirling community for their kindness and support over the loss of our father and revered 'Son of the Rock'."

Mr Gillespie's relatives also paid tribute to the police and prosecuting authorities for their "sensitivity" throughout the ordeal.

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