THE tragic death of a barman who was “irreplaceable” shook the Newton Stewart community last October 15 when it emerged he had been killed by his future father-in-law after a row.
Paul McCann, 57, was yesterday sentenced to six years and six months at Edinburgh High Court for causing the death of 40-year-old Davie Brown, a father-of-three, by stabbing him in the shoulder in McGregor Drive, Minnigaff.
The court heard previously that McCann had lashed out following a remark made by Mr Brown which made his fiancee – McCann’s daughter – cry. McCann was then seen to have a knife in his hand by witnesses, including Mr Brown’s 18-year-old son, who described seeing his dad’s knees turn to jelly before he staggered backwards, bleeding.
Following a number of 999 calls from the house minutes after midnight, it was 12.43am before an ambulance arrived, said Donald Findlay QC, appearing for McCann at the sentencing hearing. Mr Brown remained conscious for about 20 minutes after the stabbing, but when paramedics arrived their attempts to resuscitate him failed.
During a police interview, McCann admitted having a lot to drink and said Mr Brown had grabbed him by the throat. He said the next thing he remembered was having a knife in his hand, which he believed may have been next to the kitchen sink – and then seeing Mr Brown fall to the ground.
The court heard Nichole McCann and Mr Brown had a three-year-old son and were due to marry in July 2012.
The judge, Lord Bannatyne, was handed victim impact statements from Mr Brown’s two sons, his fiancee and his mother. Advocate depute Douglas Fairley added: “Mr Brown was much loved. His death had and continues to have a devastating effect on his family.”
Inspector Mark Hollis said following the sentencing: “Tragic events such as this are thankfully rare in Dumfries and Galloway. However, when they do occur the police are mindful of the devastating effects it can have on the family, friends and relatives and, indeed, the whole community.
“Sadly, a man has died and another has now gone to prison. The police will continue to work closely with everyone in the local community in order to address any concerns that may arise out of this tragedy.”
Mr Findlay told the court yesterday that McCann had “no criminal record worthy of the name” and that he had served in the army for 14 years until receiving an exemplary discharge in 1985. He had two tours of duty in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles.
Mr Findlay added that McCann had no clear recollection of the incident. “His remorse, shame and regret over the whole episode are genuine. He has much contrition for the death of his son-in-law and the damage this has occasioned his family, particularly his daughter,” said the QC.
Following Mr Brown’s death, his employer, Gordon Andrews of the Galloway Arms Hotel in Newton Stewart, paid tribute to a “hard-working, much-liked man”. He said: “Newton Stewart will be a poorer place without him. I don’t want to be gushy but it’s true to say that he had no enemies, no-one had a bad word to say against Davie. He had no enemies, he was just a nice man and an integral part of what we do at the Galloway Arms. He is irreplaceable … we’ll not get anyone like him again.”
Tributes were laid to Mr Brown outside the pub, including flowers and candles.