Man who killed 88-year-old in robbery jailed for seven years

Jason Cowan is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow
Jason Cowan is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow
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A MAN who killed an 88-year-old war hero during a robbery bid has been jailed for seven years.

James Duguid attacked John Gillespie as the pensioner – who was registered blind – took a walk in Stirling in April last year.

Duguid confronted the former Royal Navy sailor and demanded he hand over his wallet.

Mr Gillespie bravely tried to fight back, but his attacker grabbed the OAP’s walking stick and struck him with it.

Mr Gillespie – mentioned in dispatches for his conduct in World War II – suffered a broken hip and died six days later in hospital.

Lady Scott today told Duguid that for a man of 51 his conduct was “all the more inexplicable”.

The judge added at the High Court in Glasgow: “It is clear your conduct has left the Gillespie family bereft.”

Duguid waved to relatives – one of whom was in tears – as he was led handcuffed to the cells.

Mr Gillespie’s family – including son John junior – later said people in Scotland should have the “unassailable right” to walk the streets “without fear”.

In a statement, they added: “The sentencing in this case concerning our late father affirms that right.

“Our family express our gratitude to the countless members of the Stirling community for their kindness and support over the loss of our father and revered ‘Son of the Rock’.”

Mr Gillespie’s relatives also paid tribute to the police and prosecuting authorities for their “sensitivity” throughout the ordeal.

The OAP was attacked in a pedestrian underpass as he went for a walk to look at daffodils on 19 April last year.

Mr Gillespie fell to the ground and broke his hip before dying in hospital on his 64th wedding anniversary.

Duguid, of Raploch, Stirling, had gone on trial accused of murder, but was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

He was also found guilty of disposing of a walking stick, later found in undergrowth.

Duguid denied being involved in the killing telling jurors: “I didn’t even see Mr Gillespie at all.”

His QC today said the former construction worker continued to protest his innocence.

Ian Duguid, defending, added: “His position remains the same, but what is evident is his sympathy for the members of the family of the deceased.”