A TEENAGER who killed a fellow pupil at their school in Glasgow has been sentenced to three and a half years’ detention.
• 15-year-old pupil sentenced to three and a half years’ detention for killing fellow pupil
• Euan Craig was killed after being repeatedly punched in the head
The youth, 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, punched Euan Craig, 14, repeatedly to the head after a trivial incident in the gym hall.
Euan and his killer were third-year pupils at Rosshall Academy. He sustained “an unusual” injury in the attack and died in hospital the next day.
Sentencing the youth at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Bracadale said Euan had been the “apple of the eye” of his parents and his family would have to live with their “immeasurable loss.”
The judge had heard a strong plea for mercy by the youth’s QC, Ian Duguid, but he added: “I have come to the view that the sustained nature of the assault, the circumstances in which it was committed, and the devastating consequences which flowed from it, combine to indicate that, despite your age, the only appropriate disposal is a custodial one.”
The sentence would have been five years, but would be discounted because of an early guilty plea.
Relatives of Euan appeared distraught at the length of the sentence, but declined to comment.
The youth, then also 14, admitted the culpable homicide of Euan on 23 May.
The pair were at separate PE classes that morning, and Euan and some friends were playing with a sponge ball as they waited for their teacher to arrive. The court heard they were “messing around and having fun.”
The youth entered the gym and was hit on the side of the face with the sponge ball which Euan had thrown at a friend. He strode towards Euan who immediately apologised and tried to explain it was an accident, but he could not calm the youth.
“He punched the deceased approximately five times to the left side of the head,” said the advocate-depute, John Scullion.
The youth walked out of the gym, while Euan went to sit beside friends but suddenly slumped from the bench and began to suffer a seizure.
He was taken to hospital where it was found he had bleeding on the brain, and he was pronounced dead the following day.
Pathologists reported that the blow causing the fatal haemorrhage “need not have been hugely powerful” but forceful enough to cause rotataion of the head.
The defence counsel, Ian Duguid, QC, disputed Facebook entries which depicted the youth as a dangerous and violent individual. He said the youth had made postings “out of bravado” but professionals who had assessed him had painted a completely different picture.
The incident had been spontaneous, added Mr Duguid, and the youth reacted in a way he had never before acted, and caused injury.
“The unusual nature of this injury has brought about the death of Euan Craig. This is just a tragic incident which finds itself in this court...in other circumstances, it may never have been brought to any court proceedings had Euan Craig been simply able to walk away without the tragic injury that was occasioned to him,” said Mr Duguid.
Lord Bracadale said that, by all accounts, Euan was a popular boy who showed a lot of promise.
“He had his whole life in front of him. His prospects were good. He came from a close-knit family and was plainly the apple of the eye of each of his father and mother, and was close to his sister. It is clear his untimely death has had a profound effect on the family who are going to have to live with this immeasurable loss,” the judge stated.
“I am conscious that no sentence can bring back Euan or begin to compensate the Craig family for their loss. You (the youth) and everyone else should understand that, whatever sentence is imposed, it cannot and is not intended to measure the value of the life of Euan Craig.
“The assault was a wholly uncecessary one...and the consequences were catastrophic. You have shown remorse. I do accept the force used did not need to be hugely powerful. It is important for all to recognise that the death of Euan Craig illustrates the grave danger associated with striking a person repeatedly about the head.”