Former soldier stabbed man to death over £40 drug debt

Phillip McMillan died after being stabbed in a row over a £40 diazepam debt.

A former soldier who stabbed a dad-of-one to death following a row over a £40 drug debt has been jailed for eight years.

Liam Donnelly from Plains, Airdrie, was originally charged with murdering Philip McMillan at Sunnyside Crescent, Holytown Lanarkshire, on February 22 last year.

At the High Court in Glasgow the 27-year-old’s plea of guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide under provocation was accepted by the Crown.

The court heard Mr McMillan was demanding the £40 he was owed and had earlier vandalised Donnelly’s partner’s home.

The accused then went to Mr McMillan’s home with two friends to remonstrate with him and were confronted by the 26-year-old who was armed with a knife and a wooden pole.

At Donnelly’s trial, judge Lady Rae told him: “Instead of reporting the matter to the police you decided to take the law into your own hands.

“Mr McMillan’s behaviour was unacceptable, but he did not deserve to die.”

The court was told Mr McMillan supplied diazepam to Donnelly, his girlfriend and another friend on credit a week before the stabbing.

He sent threatening texts to the woman demanding £40 and then vandalised her home when she couldn’t pay.

He then called her and when Donnelly grabbed the phone and spoke to McMillan a heated argument broke out.

Donnelly called a taxi at around 5.30am and along with friends Ryan Downie and Alan Dunion went to Mr McMillan’s home at Sunnyside Crescent.

Donnelly was armed with a knife and Mr McMillan also had a knife and a piece of fencing post.

Mr McMillan began swinging it at Donnelly, Downie and Dunion, and then slashed Dunion on the left side of his face with a knife, leaving the 26-year-old with a six-inch wound which needed 15 sutures.

At this point Donnelly, who suffered fractures to his fingers consistent with being struck by a wooden pole, stabbed Mr McMillan in the heart causing massive internal bleeding.

He died later in Wishaw General Hospital and the knife which inflicted the fatal injury was never found.

Lady Rae admonished Downie and jailed Dunion for 12 months.

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