A MAN who celebrated in the style of a boxing champ moments after killing a peacemaker has been jailed for six years. 

John Aitken, 45, killed Thomas Craig, 63, with a single punch outside a nightclub at a junction at Dalrymple Street and Laird Street, in Greenock, Inverclyde, on March 14, 2018. 

The High Court in Glasgow heard how the attack took place moments after the two men and others left a nearby nightclub. 

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Aitken had been drinking before the assault. Witnesses told the court that Mr Craig hadn’t posed a threat to Aitken but he assaulted him nevertheless.

Eyewitness Christopher Masterton, 40, said that Mr Craig had been trying to calm down a row involving Aitken and other men. 

Mr Masterton, a taxi driver, said that as Mr Craig lay on the ground, Aitken “put his arms in the air” before walking off. 

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Defence advocate Ian Duguid QC asked Mr Masterton: “Are you saying the man raised his hands in the air as if he was Rocky in some sort of boxing match?”

Mr Masterton replied: “Yes.”

Aitken, who had 37 previous convictions, denied culpable homicide and lodged a special defence of self defence. 

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But jurors rejected Aitken’s claims and convicted him of culpable homicide. Lord Woolman remanded him in custody in July 2019 in order to obtain background reports. 

On Wednesday, the case once again called at the High Court in Edinburgh for Aitken to be sentenced. 

The judge had been given a victim impact statement from Mr Craig’s son. The court heard that Mr Craig’s son is unable to put into words the impact that the loss of his father has had on his family. 

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Mr Duguid told Lord Woolman that Mr Craig had discussed Mr Craig’s death with social workers who had been appointed to investigate his client’s character. 

The advocate added: “He became visibly emotional when discussing the matter. He became visibly emotional when discussing the impact that this event has had on Mr Craig’s family.

“He never anticipated and never wanted to cause Mr Craig’s death. 

“He is very, very sorry for the pain and anguish he has caused to the family of Mr Craig. 

“He would wish for his regret and remorse to be properly recorded and taken into account.”

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However, Lord Woolman told him that he would have to be jailed for his offences. 

Lord Woolman added: “Mr Craig was older than you. Eyewitnesses told the court of how he adopted a defensive posture in the moments before the assault. “The fact that you had taken alcohol at the time of the offence is no excuse. 

“Your actions resulted in the loss of life and this makes the offence a serious one. 

“Mr Craig’s son has written a victim impact statement and he cannot put into words the impact that loss of his father has had on his life. 

“The sentence in this case will be one of six years.”