Boy given life for ‘internal decapitation’ murder

Image copyright Daily Record
Image caption The teenager murdered Frank Sinclair near Westwood Community Centre in East Kilbride

A schoolboy who “internally decapitated” a 61-year-old man after repeatedly stamping on his head has been given a life sentence for murder.

The 17-year-old killed Frank Sinclair in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, last year.

The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, attacked Mr Sinclair as he believed he had earlier pushed him outside a community hall.

A jury found him guilty of murder at the High Court in Glasgow last month.

Lord Burns told the teenager he would have to serve at least 11 years in custody before he could be considered for release.

Sentencing the boy at the High Court in Edinburgh, he said the attack was “wholly unprovoked”.

‘Terrible act’

Lord Burns added: “You proceeded to stamp on a vulnerable and immobile 61-year-old man who you had encountered lying on the ground.

“By this terrible act you killed him and deprived his family and friends of his love and companionship and they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives and you have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

The court heard the teenager and three female friends came across Mr Sinclair lying on the ground behind Westwood Community Centre at about 20:00 on 19 January last year.

Initially the boy tried to help the victim up but became angry when they both lost their balance and fell to the ground.

The court heard he believed Mr Sinclair had pushed him, causing him to scrape his face off the community centre wall.

One of the girls phoned for an ambulance and the boy walked away.

The court then heard he returned about 15 minutes later.

‘Hard and forceful’

The girl said: “He ran up to Mr Sinclair, raised his foot and put it down on his face.

“I could hear the sound of his foot hitting the head – the stamps were hard and forceful.”

Mr Sinclair suffered 19 injuries to his face and neck including a fractured Adam’s apple and a vertebrae at the top of his spine was severed causing internal decapitation.

Pathologist Sharon Calvert told the court this was caused by having his head repeatedly stamped on.

The jury heard such an injury was usually only seen in people who had fallen from a height or been involved in a road traffic accident.

The teenager gave evidence during proceedings and admitted to prosecution lawyer Liam Ewing QC that he had attacked Mr Sinclair.

Anger management issues

Asked what his intention was as his victim lay on the ground, the teenager replied: “To hurt him.

“I just lost my temper. I just lost it. I thought he’d be knocked out.

“I didn’t know what I did to him would kill him.”

He also told the jury: “I’ve still not got over it. I just feel destroyed.”

Defence advocate Bert Kerrigan QC told Lord Burns that his client came from a stable background and a loving family.

But the court heard the accused had anger management issues and had a “propensity to resort to violence.”

The boy was also sentenced to two years for an unprovoked attack on 18-year-old Jay Mungall.

The court heard he punched the teenager on the head and body at Westwood Stores in East Kilbride, about an hour before the murder.

This sentence will be served concurrently with the 11-year punishment part of the life sentence.

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