A man who “abandoned” his friend to die outside a hospital from a knife wound which could have been treated has been jailed for nine and a half years.
Ben McCulloch, 28, killed Stephen Quigley, 26, at his home in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, on March 23, 2021.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how McCulloch and Mr Quigley had been socialising with each other in the moments leading up to the fatal assault.
McCulloch struck his victim, who lived in Neilston, East Renfrewshire, on the side of the head with a blade.
The attacker – a disqualified driver – then drove Mr Quigley to a closed section of Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and left him in a “secluded” part of the medical facility’s grounds.
Mr Quigley was left six minutes from the accident and emergency department. The disorientated victim tried to walk to casualty for help but was found dead outside a daytime ward the next morning.
When police apprehended McCulloch, he claimed that he dropped his friend the distance from A&E as he didn’t want to give details of how Mr Quigley came by his injuries.
The High Court in Glasgow heard the deceased would have survived if he received immediate medical treatment.
The story emerged earlier this year following a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow which saw McCulloch plead guilty to a charge of culpable homicide.
Sentence was deferred for the court to obtain reports and on Tuesday, judge Lord Mulholland told McCulloch that he had to go jail for his crime.
Passing sentence, members of Mr Quigley’s family sat in the public benches and wept as Lord Mulholland told McCulloch that he’d left them serving a “life sentence”.
Lord Mulholland said: “Having inflicted an injury on him, you transported him to hospital and abandoned him.
“You did not wait to see if he was alright and if he was in the care of medical staff. Instead you left him in hospital grounds where he bled to death.
“You didn’t ensure he was alright. Your first thought was for yourself. You got on with your life and you did not care for the welfare of your friend.
“You have left his family serving a life sentence.
“The use of knives in assaults are a curse in this country.”
At the earlier hearing, the court heard the two friends were drinking in McCulloch’s flat on the day of the incident.
The pair were in good spirits uploading video clips to social media.
Prosecutor Angela Gray said: “Later that afternoon, McCulloch and Mr Quigley became involved in an altercation.
“During this, McCulloch took control of the knife and struck Mr Quigley, inflicting a blow to his head, causing the long-incised wound on the right side of his head.”
McCulloch dropped the bleeding victim near a closed mental health ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital at 5.25pm. A legal document stating the charge against McCulloch described the location as being “secluded”.
Ms Gray added: “The A&E is around a six-minute walk from where Mr Quigley was dropped off by McCulloch.”
Mr Quigley, who was “unsteady on his feet” with a head injury, was spotted on CCTV walking for help. He was found dead by nursing staff the next morning at 7am outside the ward.
It was established that the injury was caused by a weapon with a sharp edge and moderate force was used.
Ms Gray added: “The injury to his head would have been survivable if prompt medical attention had been secured.”
McCulloch was later traced to an AirBnB property in Newcastle on April 8, 2021 and he was arrested.
On Tuesday, defence advocate Ian Duguid KC, told Lord Mulholland that McCulloch was remorseful for his actions.
Mr Duguid added: “I’d like to highlight the extent of Mr McCulloch’s remorse. He has a mortgage – he is a homeowner and he has a trade. He is a joiner. He is in steady employment.
“He has all the factors in his life which means he shouldn’t be appearing in this court on a charge of this nature.”
However, Lord Mulholland ordered McCulloch to be sent to prison.