Falkirk man jailed for 10 years for killing pensioner in his Redding home

A Falkirk man who beat a stroke sufferer to death after befriending him during lockdown has been jailed for 10 years.

By Court Reporter
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 1:03 pm

William Collins admitted leaving William McCallum with 66 injuries – including a fresh brain haemorrhage, broken ribs and multiple bruises – after attacking him in his home.

Collins, 40, from Falkirk, had befriended Mr McCallum, 66, at the pharmacy which Collins himself attended three times a week to collect medication for his heroin addiction.

He had become a regular visitor to the flat in Redding where the "frail and vulnerable" father-of-six lived.

Floral tributes laid at the scene after the death William McCallum in June 2020

Ian Duguid, QC, defending, said the offence took place in June 2020.

He described Collins and Mr McCallum as “isolated figures” who both lived alone but, in the circumstances of the pandemic, met on a regular basis.

He said both the accused and his victim had taken street Valium on the day of the killing, and Collins had “very little knowledge or recollection” of events.

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Police outside the scene of the death

He told the High Court at Livingston: “Mr McCallum sustained an injury to the back of his head which appears to have been a trauma with a hard surface.

“A care worker who was present witnessed Mr McCallum being dragged from a bed onto the hard-surfaced floor by the accused.

“Mr Collins bears responsibility for the injuries, but his lack of accurate recollection considerable frustrates him and causes him a great deal of remorse and regret.”

Mr Duguid added: “There’s no way he anticipated that Mr McCallum was going to lose his life, but clearly a disagreement had arisen between the two of them.

“It may have related to the fact that Mr Collins was unable to find his belongings – his wallet, bank card and drugs he was carrying at the time and that’s how the two men came into dispute.”

The court heard earlier that Mr McCallum, who was diabetic and suffered from COPD, was "scared" of Collins, who would "snap, shout and bawl" at him.

Prosecutor John Keenan said Mr McCallum’s carer who witnessed Collins pulling the deceased off the bed and trying to drag him out of the room had left "hurriedly" and reported what had happened to her office.

Over "a number of hours", neighbours then heard sounds of arguing, Collins demanding money, and "loud banging and dull thuds" from the flat.

They saw Collins leaving with blood on his joggers.

He returned about 9.30pm and broke a window to get back in. At this point, police were called.

A post mortem put death down to head and chest injuries, combined with methadone and etizolam [street Valium] toxicity.

Passing sentence, Lord Weir told Collins: “There was no justification for subjecting Mr McCallum to an assault of the character related to the court, never mind the level of violence which can be inferred from it.”

The judge said an “eloquent” victim impact statement submitted by the victim’s daughters ­– three of whom were in court to see Collins being sentenced – spoke of the pain the family continued to suffer as a result of his loss.

He imposed an extended sentence of 13 years comprising an immediate period of custody for 10 years, backdated to June 2020 when Collins was first remanded in prison, followed by three years on licence after his eventual release.

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