Man killed hero ex-soldier who had survived grenade attack

William Prieston died in hospital following the assault by Garrie McCann in November 2019.

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A man who killed a hero ex-soldier has been jailed for more than eight years.

Garrie McCann, 38, assaulted William Prieston, who had earlier given the attacker £20.

Mr Prieston, known as Billy, never recovered from the brutal assault in November 2019 and died weeks later in hospital.

On Tuesday, McCann, who already had a history of violence, was locked up for eight years and four months for the attack in Falkirk.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to a culpable homicide charge at the High Court in Glasgow.

A previous hearing was told how Mr Prieston, 43, had previously served with the Queen’s Household Cavalry.

He was later medically discharged due to a number of serious injuries suffered during combat.

Prosecutor Derick Nelson said: “He had nerve damage and metal plates inserted in his jaw, arms and shin.

“This was due to a rocket-propelled grenade striking the tank in which he was travelling.”

The court heard how Mr Prieston gave McCann £20 on the night of the killing.

The men later ended up at Mr Prieston’s flat, which he shared with his girlfriend.

Mr Nelson said: “The attack happened after she had gone to bed leaving them in the living room.

“She was woken by a disturbance and went through to find McCann on top of her partner assaulting him.”

McCann repeatedly punched Mr Prieston across the face and body.

The prosecutor added: “He had pinned Mr Prieston’s arms down using his legs, rendering him defenceless.”

His partner called for help, shouting to the 999 operator that Mr Prieston was being attacked by his “pal”.

She then managed to push McCann off.

The victim, despite his facial injuries, was able to say McCann pounced on him “all of a sudden”.

His condition deteriorated in hospital, with Mr Prieston suffering from pneumonia while in intensive care.

The court was told life support was withdrawn on December 7 and Mr Prieston died the following day.

The cause of death included multi-organ failure.

McCann, of Redding, Falkirk, was traced shortly after the attack.

His QC, Thomas Ross, said: “He and Mr Prieston had been friends for about nine years.

“They had got on well together and there had never been a cross word between them.”

Mr Ross added the attack had been a “short burst of violent conduct”.

Lord Weir ordered McCann be supervised for three years on his release.

The judge said: “There was no justification for subjecting the late Mr Prieston to such an assault.”

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