Climber cleared of killing friend after Ben Nevis trek

John McLean was accused of attacking Mark Maguire after scaling the UK's highest mountain.

The trial was held at the High Court in Glasgow.
The trial was held at the High Court in Glasgow.

A climber has been cleared of killing a friend hours after they scaled Ben Nevis.

John McLean, 43, was accused of attacking Mark Maguire, 44, outside the Cruachan Hotel in Fort William in May last year.

The pair were part of a group who had travelled from Glasgow to climb the UK’s highest mountain.

Mr McLean was accused of punching the dad-of-three in the neck leaving him with severe injuries that caused his death in hospital the next day.

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Mr Macguire died after suffering a “traumatic” brain injury.

McLean, of Milton, had denied a culpable homicide charge during a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Jurors returned a not proven verdict on September 25.

The pair had just climbed Ben Nevis in Fort William. CC

The trial heard Mr McLean and Mr Maguire had been long-time friends and the group had gone for an Indian meal and drinks after the climb.

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But in the early hours Mr Maguire became annoyed about something and McLean’s son Ross tried to act as peacemaker.

It was claimed Mr Maguire swung a punch at Mr Maclean’s son prompting Mr McLean to step in.

In a police interview, McLean said he threw a punch, but was not certain it connected with Mr Maguire.

Mr Maguire ended up on the ground unconscious

Despite attempts to save him, the dad, of Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, never recovered.

Pathologists said the cause of death was a rare injury caused by the hit on the neck and it then being forced to the side.

Defence QC Donald Findlay said: “The Crown has not led a single scrap of evidence that shows anyone punched Mr Maguire on the side of the neck.”

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He also told how Mr McLean had gone to visit Mr Maguire’s family after the death to offer “comfort and solace”.


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