Derek Grant had pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide of Patrick Bradley, a serial offender described in court yesterday as “a man of violence”.
Grant was blinded in one eye when Mr Bradley stabbed him through the left eyeball.
It emerged that the victim, who had a lengthy criminal record, had already been jailed for stabbing someone through the eye.
After sentence was passed at The High Court in Livingston today, a member of Grant’s family branded the outcome “a farce”.
The woman, understood to be Grant’s wife, added: “That guy was an animal.”
And, as the family left the court building, the woman revealed that she and her family now feared reprisals in their hometown of Greenock, Renfrewshire.
Grant, 38, and three of his sons were original charged with murder after Mr Bradley robbed his 19-year-old son Jordan – a politics student – at knifepoint.
The Grants used the ‘Find My iPhone’ app on August 30 last year to locate the stolen mobile.
Grant then left his home in the town’s Wellington Street with Jordan and his two younger sons Lee, 17, and 16-year-old Jamie.
The dad-of-three had armed himself with a knife to confront Mr. Bradley which was a decision described by defence counsel Iain Duguid yesterday as “a huge mistake”.
When they spotted the robber, who was not known to them, Derek Grant ordered him to hand back the stolen phone.
Mr. Bradley, 29, reacted by horrifically plunging a knife through Grant’s left eye, blinding him.
Severely injured, Grant stabbed Mr. Bradley five times with the blade he had brought with him.
Three of the blows landed in Mr. Bradley’s chest causing fatal injuries and he died in hospital later that day.
Passing sentence, Judge Lord Boyd said a victim statement from Mr Bradley’s parents made clear that he was “a loving and caring son whose death at your hands has left them, as his mother says, ‘broken-hearted’.”
He added: “Nothing I can say or do can alleviate that pain.”
However, Lord Boyd highlighted that there was another side to Mr. Bradley’s character
He told Grant: “He was a man of violence. He had ten convictions for assault, five of which were on indictment and included assault to severe injury and assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.
“But you, of course did not know that. What you did know was that earlier that night Patrick Bradley had robbed your son of his mobile phone at knifepoint.
“Had he been caught it seems likely given his record that he would have been prosecuted in this court, the High Court, and on conviction would have received a High Court sentence.
“As it happens you had the means to bring him to justice because the phone had been easily located by the Find My iPhone app.
“All you needed to do was to phone the police and give them the information. However, you armed yourself with a knife and, along with your three sons, went looking for him.”
‘Error of judgment’
The judge said Grant’s lawyer had earlier described that decision as an error of judgment.
But he told the accused: “I can’t accept that as a valid description. It’s clear you were prepared to be met with violence – or at least the threat of violence – and went armed to meet it.
“All to often it’s said in this court that people take a knife for protection. It’s most unfortunate that it’s an excuse we hear all to often when talking about tragedy.
“In the event the Crown has accepted that the violence you encountered was in their words significant and it was for that reason that your plea of guilty to the lesser crime of culpable homicide was accepted.”
Lord Boyd acknowledged that Grant had lost an eye as a result of being stabbed and now had a lifelong disability, which had effectively ended his career as a delivery driver.
He described Grant’s conviction as a “tragedy” for his family and told him the proud educational record of his sons was a credit to him.
He went on: “I take into account you will have to live with the physical consequences of that event for the rest of your life and I have reduced the sentence accordingly
“Nevertheless, the fact is you took the law into your own hands and went looking for a man you knew was armed with a knife armed with a weapon of your own.”