A 51-year-old man has been sent behind bars for four years for the manslaughter of a grandfather he punched during a row, causing him to fall and suffer catastrophic head injuries.
Brian McMahon appeared before the Royal Court today to be sentenced for the ‘single-punch manslaughter’ of Melvin Christopher Murphy (65), which he had previously admitted.
Summing up the facts, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said that McMahon had assaulted Mr Murphy at the entrance to Springfield car park at around 23:50 on 21 September 2019.
It happened after the two had had an argument at the Robin Hood pub where they were both regulars.
Pictured: Mr Murphy died after suffering catastrophic head injuries.
McMahon followed Murphy as he was walking home. CCTV footage shows Mr Murphy turning around as if answering McMahon, who then struck him to the side of his face with his left hand.
As a result of the blow, Mr Murphy fell backwards on the floor. Immediately after, McMahon left the scene and walked home.
Mr Murphy died the following day of multiple organ failure.
The Crown Advocate described the case as a “harrowing reminder that death and serious injury can result from any type of violence” before recommending a four-year prison sentence.
Pictured: Advocate James Bell was representing McMahon.
Advocate James Bell, who was representing McMahon, said the case was one of “a single blow with tragic consequences”, adding that his client was genuinely remorseful for his actions.
He urged the Court to impose a lower sentence, arguing that the consequences of McMahon’s actions were already “weighing heavily” on him.
Advocate Bell said McMahon absolutely did not intend to kill Mr Murphy and that he didn’t realise the severity of the situation when he walked away without checking on Mr Murphy’s welfare.
“He didn’t know what type of injury Mr Murphy had suffered,” the advocate told Court. “He didn’t know Mr Murphy had struck his head.”
The Court heard that McMahon had lost his hair as a result of the stress and pain the case had caused him.
Pictured: The Bailiff described McMahon's actions as deliberate.
The case was heard by the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, who was sitting with Jurats Anthony Olsen, Charles Blampied and Kim Averty.
The Bailiff described the situation as tragic, adding that, while a single blow would result in minor injuries in most situations, anyone who punches someone in the face takes the risk of causing serious injury or death.
He then quoted a previous judgment from a similar case, in which the court had said: “The death is not accidental; it is the direct result of the unlawful application of violence. The sudden extinction of a life with all the associated trauma and grief that is suffered by the family and friends of the victim cannot be viewed lightly by the courts.”
The Bailiff described the punch as premeditated rather than instinctive, saying that McMahon had deliberately followed Mr Murphy and instigated the violence.
He then concluded the Crown Advocate had been right in his conclusions and imposed a four-year sentence.
Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Christina Maclennan, Head of the Serious Crime Unit, commented: “This was a tragic case of a violent assault which resulted in Mr Murphy dying from his injuries.
“Our thoughts are with Mr Murphy’s family, who have been supported throughout the investigation by specially trained Family Liaison Officers.”
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