Helicopter engineer faces jail for killing man

The Crown Bar, in Blairgowrie. Picture: Contributed
The Crown Bar, in Blairgowrie. Picture: Contributed
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A HELICOPTER engineer is facing jail after he admitted killing a man with a single punch.

Craig Tilbury, 25, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, pled guilty to the culpable homicide of James Simpson at Public Street, Blairgowrie, on June 16 by punching him on the head and knocking him to the ground.

Advocate depute Bill McVicar, prosecuting, said that Mr Simpson, who lived with his partner and her two children in Coupar Angus, was in Blairgowrie to meet his father and spend Father’s Day with him.

They had a meal and a drink together and Mr Simpson left his father and went to the Crown Bar around 10pm.

Service manager Mr Simpson, who was intoxicated, was asked to leave and as he did so he made a lunge at Tilbury in a bid to punch or push him and struck him on the chest.

Mr McVicar said: “After this incident, the accused was clearly angry and wound up and on his return to the bar began to complain about the conduct of Mr Simpson.

“At about 11.05pm he told his girlfriend he was going to the toilet, but instead went outside.”

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Mr Simpson was standing on the other side of the street at the taxi rank.

A barman told Tilbury: “Just leave it Craig,” but he ignored this and approached Mr Simpson and hit him on the left side of the head.

Mr Simpson immediately fell to the ground and Tilbury walked away.

Bystanders went to the aid of Mr Simpson, 44, who was unresponsive.

Tilbury told his girlfriend: ‘I hit him because he hit me,” then minutes later said: “I hit him because he hit me, so self defence.”

Shortly afterwards Tilbury handed himself into the police and admitted what he had done.

Mr Simpson was taken to Ninewells hospital in Dundee. Doctors battled to save him, but he was pronounced dead at 12.08am on June 17.

He died from bleeding to the brain and injury which is common in drunken fights when a punch lands on the jaw.

Mr McVicar said: “The brain injury was inevitably fatal and caused by a single punch. The force of the blow was not out of the ordinary for what might be encountered in a typical fight. The pathologist was of the view that the injury here was in that sense an uncommon consequence of a fairly common scenario. He also said such injuries are relatively uncommon.”

Defence QC Donald Finlay said: “Mr Tilbury is deeply affected by the consequences of his actions. He has a profound degree of remorse that what was an evening out for all concerned should have ended in such utterly tragic consequences.

“It is to his great credit that shortly after this incident he contacted the police.”

Judge Norman Ritchie QC deferred sentence on Tilbury until next month for reports and granted him bail.

Judge Ritchie told him: “Today you accepted as you did accept almost immediately after this incident that you took a life. It is almost inevitable a custodial sentence will be imposed.”