A TEENAGE boy has admitted killing another pupil by repeatedly punching him in the head after being accidentally hit by a sponge ball during gym class.
Euan Craig, 14, suffered serious head injuries in the assault at Rosshall Academy in Glasgow, and died in hospital the next day.
His killer, said to come from a family with “comparatively high standards of behaviour and expectations of achievement”, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow.
The boy, who is also 14 and cannot be named because of his age, was warned custody is the “likely outcome” when he returns to court next month to be sentenced.
Wearing a shirt and tie, he sat with his head bowed as the court heard the sequence of events that led to the attack on 23 May.
Euan’s family and friends, including his parents, Richard and Anne, were listening from a packed public gallery.
Prosecutor John Scullion said the boys were both third-year pupils at the school in Crookston in the south side of the city, which has above-average attainment figures for Glasgow.
They were at separate PE classes on the morning of the attack. Euan and his friends began playing with a sponge ball while waiting for their teacher to arrive. According to Mr Scullion, the teenagers were “messing around and having fun”.
The killer entered the gym as Euan picked up the ball and threw it at a friend. However, it missed and struck the on the side of the face.
He swore at Euan and asked him what he thought he was doing. He then strode towards the victim, who immediately apologised and tried to explain it was an accident. However, he was unable to calm him down.
“The accused punched the deceased approximately five times to the left side of the head,” Mr Scullion said. “The deceased tried to back away and tried to block the punches by covering his face. During the attack, the deceased continued to apologise, saying, ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean it. It was an accident’.”
The killer eventually stopped and walked out of the gym, while Euan went to sit beside other pupils, repeating that what had happened had been an accident. He then suddenly slumped from the bench and started to suffer a seizure.
A teacher raced over to help, but Euan did not respond. A 999 call was made and he was taken to Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, where a CT scan revealed he had suffered extensive bleeding on the brain. He never recovered and was pronounced dead the following afternoon.
A pathology report concluded the fatal haemorrhage had been caused by Euan being hit on the left side of his face.
Mr Scullion told the court the blow “need not have been hugely powerful” but forceful enough to cause a “rotation of the head with such unpredictable and devastating consequences”. He added that the death had had a “devastating impact” on Euan’s family.
The killer’s QC said what happened that morning had been “catastrophic” and that the teenager had displayed “huge remorse” since.
Ian Duguid added: “He cannot remember acting in such a way before. This was an event that is entirely out of character.
“He comes from a background and a family where there are comparatively high standards of behaviour and expectations of achievement.”
A school report revealed he was generally well behaved, and he was described as “quiet or reserved”.
The killer has been banned from going near Rosshall Academy, in Crookston, in the south side of Glasgow, since his first court appearance in May this year.
Lord Bracadale allowed him to remain on bail and deferred sentence until 23 November at the High Court in Edinburgh. “You have pled guilty to killing Euan Craig at the school you attended,” the judge said. “Whatever the sentence for you, it will not bring back Euan Craig.
“His bereft family have to live with the loss of a boy who was violently and untimely taken.
“I will continue bail, but you must return to court in the expectation that a custodial sentence is the most likely outcome.”
Euan’s parents did not speak to reporters as they left the court. After his death, their son’s friends set up a Facebook page called Pray For Euan Craig’, firstly in the hope he would pull through, and then as a place to leave messages of condolence.
Fellow pupil Allanah McMichael posted: “Shine on kid!
“Have a blast wee man, you’ll meet us all again one day! Shine bright x.”
Another friend Chloe Martin wrote: “RIP, God wanted an angel and he got one, didn’t deserve to die so young.”
Chloe Galbraith added: “RIP Euan. My thoughts go out to his family and close friends. No one deserves to die at the age of 14.”