Glasgow & West Scotland

Man killed his friend over improvised rap song

Ryan Watson Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Ryan Watson died after suffering a brain injury and damage to a vital artery.

A man has admitted killing his friend after he took offence to an improvised rap song he was singing.

Kirk Nolan punched Ryan Watson on the face and neck at a flat in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, on 11 August, after the victim mentioned his girlfriend.

The 24-year-old, who was epileptic, died after suffering a brain injury and damage to a vital artery.

Nolan, 28, admitted culpable homicide. Sentence was deferred and he was remanded in custody.

As he was later being led to the cells at the High Court in Glasgow, Nolan turned to Mr Watson's family and said: "I'm so, so sorry."

'Good spirits'

The court heard how the two men, who were from Larkhall, had spent the day in "good spirits" renovating the garden of Nolan's uncle.

Along with other friends, they later went to the flat of Nolan's girlfriend.

It is believed the gathering was to remember a friend who had recently died in a car accident.

The court was told that Mr Watson's pregnant girlfriend, Devina Beggs, was also there but she left at about 23:00.

Prosecutor Bruce Erroch said Nolan and Mr Watson were in the living room "singing along to music" together and doing what one witness described as "this rapping kind of thing".

He added: "Ryan was improvising words to a 'rap' including words about Nolan's girlfriend which he found offensive."

The court heard the men then "grappled head-to-head" with each other.

'Turned blue'

The advocate depute said: "In the course of that altercation, Nolan pushed Ryan forcefully once to the left face and neck area.

"This caused him to twist and fall face first onto the sofa."

The court was told that Mr Watson's lips turned blue and his eyes began rolling. One woman shouted Ryan was "fitting" and started giving him first aid.

In a 999 call, she went on to state: "I've got an epileptic who's had a wee bit of an argument with his friend. He has passed out and he's turned blue."

Mr Watson was rushed to hospital, but did not recover.

The court heard he suffered a "massive" brain injury as well as damage to a vital artery "typically associated with a blow to the head or neck".

Pathologists stated Ryan had been the victim of "significant blunt force trauma" consistent with having been pushed "forcefully".

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