A man who killed a a father after throwing a wheelie bin at him has been jailed for 20 months.
Stephen Robbins, 34, got into an early morning confrontation with Ryan Barrie, who went into the street to remonstrate with him, which escalated into violence.
Robbins was walking home from a bar in Dundee in an intoxicated state and was being “generally noisy” in the street where Mr Barrie lived when the two men got into a heated exchange.
He pushed and punched Mr Barrie before striking him with the bin, resulting in the victim falling and hitting his head on a wooden fence beam.
Mr Barrie was helped back into a house in Benvie Gardens, in Dundee, and fell asleep but was later found to have stopped breathing. Attempts to resuscitate the victim were in vain.
A post mortem examination discovered he had sustained an acute subdural haemorrhage, with blood collecting between the skull and brain surface resulting in increased internal pressure.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard the haemorrhage was likely to have been caused by Mr Barrie falling and striking his head on the beam.
Robbins was originally charged with murdering his victim on March 1 last year, but the Crown earlier accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.
He admitted assaulting and killing his victim 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.
A judge told Robbins: “This is a tragic case. Your actions caused the death of Mr Barrie. He was only 39 years of age. You have taken his father from his young son.”
Lady Scott said she was satisfied that Robbins’ culpability in the circumstances of the case was low and that there was no serious violence or any intent to cause serious injury.
She said: “I am satisfied you remain appalled by the consequences of your actions and have genuine remorse.”
The judge told Robbins he would have faced a sentence of 30 months imprisonment, but that would be reduced to reflect his guilty plea.
The court heard that Robbins, who has three previous convictions for assault, was walking home about 1am when the trouble flared up.
Advocate depute Leanne Cross said: “He was intoxicated and generally noisy. The deceased got out of bed and went to his bedroom window. He entered a heated exchange with the accused.”
She said: “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 out into the street to confront Robbins.
The prosecutor said: “The accused pushed the deceased to the shoulders with both hands. The deceased stumbled back a bit and both men started throwing punches at each other.”
“The accused repeatedly punched the deceased to the head and body. As the deceased started to walk away, the accused approached him and pushed him into a bush in the front garden of a neighbouring property,” she said.
Robbins got on top of his victim and punched him to the head. “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’,” said the prosecutor.
Robbins got up but as Mr Barrie started to get to his feet he hurled the empty bin at him and the older man fell forward and hit his head.
Robbins left the scene and Mr Barrie was found with blood coming down his face before being helped back indoors.
The killer was arrested later that day and on the way to the police station claimed that he had only punched Mr Barrie twice.
He later gave a “no comment” interview but after he was charged his solicitor said he wanted to make a statement.
The advocate depute said: “He said that he was being a bit loud because he had a few pints in him. He said that he knew of the deceased who was a friend of a friend.”
“His position to the police was that the deceased came out and punched him and as a reaction he punched him back twice and threw a wheelie bin at him to get away,” she said.