Dad killed after being hit with wheelie bin during fight

Ryan Barrie died after being struck with the bin during an altercation on March 1.

Dad killed after being hit with wheelie bin during fight STV News

A father was killed after a man threw a wheelie bin at him during a street fight.

Stephen Robbins got into “a heated exchange” with Ryan Barrie which escalated into violence and ended with the victim hitting his head off a wooden fence beam after he was struck with the bin.

Robbins, 34, left the scene of the attack in Benvie Gardens, Dundee, and Mr Barrie, 39, was found bleeding in bushes at a garden.

He was helped into a house but complained that his head was really sore before he fell asleep and was later found to have stopped breathing.

A post mortem established he suffered an acute subdural haemorrhage, with blood collecting between the skull and brain surface leading to increased pressure in the skull.

Advocate depute Leanne Cross told the High Court in Edinburgh: “The acute subdural haemorrhage is likely to have been caused by the deceased falling and striking his head on the wooden beam.”

Robbins was originally charged with murdering Mr Barrie on March 1 this year, but on Wednesday, the Crown accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Robbins admitted assaulting and killing the victim at Benvie Gardens by pushing him on the body, punching him on the head and body causing him to fall to the ground, seizing his clothing and punching him on the head and striking him with the bin whereby he fell and struck his head.

Ms Cross said that Robbins had been at a bar in Dundee and was making his way home about 1am. She added: “He was intoxicated and generally noisy.”

Mr Barrie, who had also been drinking the previous evening, got out of bed and went to a bedroom window.

The prosecutor said: “He entered a heated exchange with the accused. They were shouting at each other for several minutes. It is not known exactly what was shouted but they seemed to be challenging each other.”

Mr Barrie went into the street to confront Robbins ignoring repeated advice to stay indoors. He walked towards Robbins who pushed him on the shoulders with both hands.

The advocate depute said: “The deceased stumbled back a bit and both men started throwing punches at each other.”

Robbins punched Mr Barrie on the head and body and as the older man started to walk away he pushed him into a bush in a front garden. He got on top of Mr Barrie and gripped his top and punched him to the head. 

The prosecutor said: “The deceased didn’t fight back during this part of the incident and was heard to say to the accused ‘What are you punching us for? I’m no wanting to fight you.’ “.

Robbins got off him and walked away and Mr Barrie tried to get up and was halfway to his feet when an empty blue wheelie bin was thrown at him.

Ms Cross said: “The wheelie bin landed on the deceased’s back. It caused him to fall forward and hit his head off a wooden beam which was part of a low fixed dividing fence.”

Mr Barrie was helped back into the house where he was residing at the time and attempts were made to persuade him to go to hospital, but he did not want to go.

He was later found to have ceased breathing and an ambulance was called and CPR attempted before paramedics arrived to take over treatment, but to no avail.

The court heard that police had intelligence that Robbins, who has previous convictions for assault, was responsible and a calling card was left at his address.

Later on March 1 he contacted detectives and said somebody had shouted at him and he saw a male who came up to him and punched him once.

He said he then punched the man twice and pushed him into a bush. 

The prosecutor said Robbins was “upset during the call” and said he would hand himself in, but arrangements were made to pick him up at his father’s address.

He was arrested and during the journey to the police station he said he had only punched the deceased twice and couldn’t believe what was happening. He later stated that he threw the wheelie bin at the victim to get away.

Defence counsel Mark Stewart QC told the court that it appeared to be “a tragic combination of events”.

The court heard that Mr Barrie is survived by his former partner, son, brother and sister.

Sentence was deferred on Robbins, who is in Perth prison, for the preparation of a background report.     

The judge, Lady Scott, adjourned the case until January 6 at the High Court in Glasgow.

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