Man who killed friend in ‘sustained assault’ jailed for 14 years

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A man who killed a friend after carrying out a “violent and sustained” assault has been jailed for at least 14 years.

Malcolm Wright was left in a coma following the attack by Gary Crossan in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, in January this year.

Mr Wright died several days later in hospital from the injuries he sustained.

A jury convicted 31-year-old Crossan of murder following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen last month.

Judge Lord Matthews jailed Crossan for life when the killer returned to court for sentencing in Glasgow on Monday.

Ordering him to spend at least 14 years behind bars, the judge told him: “Nothing I can say will assuage the grief felt by Mr Wright’s family.”

Following the hearing, prosecutors said that Crossan and Mr Wright were friends and had moved to Peterhead at the same time in October last year. They lived together briefly before Crossan threw Mr Wright out of the house they shared.

On January 25, the pair were drinking in Peterhead before returning to Crossan’s house. Crossan then assaulted his victim in the early hours of the following day, after demanding money from him.

He did not call an ambulance for more than 12 hours after the sustained assault, the Crown Office said.

Details of Lord Matthews’ sentencing remarks were released following the hearing by the Judicial Office for Scotland.

The judge said the evidence showed that the men had been drinking heavily before going back to the house Crossan rented.

“The fact that drink was taken is no excuse but it explains the background,” he said.

“The motive for the assault, in so far as it was possible to discern one, may have been financial, the phone footage showing you demanding money from Mr Wright and his appearing to acknowledge that he owed it to you.”

He backdated the sentence to run from the end of January 2017.

Speaking after the hearing, Nicky Patrick, procurator fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: “Crossan carried out a violent and sustained assault which left his victim in a coma and ultimately killed him.

“His actions demonstrated a complete disregard for human life towards somebody who had counted Crossan as a friend.”