A man who beat a diabetic stroke sufferer to death after meeting him at the chemist where his victim collected his prescribed medicines was today facing a lengthy jail term.
William Collins, 40, left 66-year old William McCallum with 66 injuries including broken ribs, bruising, and a brain haemorrhage, after attacking him in his home.
The High Court in Stirling heard Collins had befriended Mr McCallum at the pharmacy which Collins himself attended three times a week to collect medication for his heroine addiction.
In the weeks leading up to Mr McCallum’s death last year (2020), Collins had became a regular visitor to Mr McCallum’s flat in Redding, Falkirk, where the “frail and vulnerable” father-of-six, who walked with a stick and had “restricted mobility”, lived alone, supported by a care package.
The court heard Mr McCallum, who also suffered from COPD, was “scared” of Collins, who would “snap, shout and bawl” at him, and had pawned his two televisions and his electric guitar.
On June 24, 2020, Mr McCallum’s carer attended at the flat shortly after 5pm and was let in by Collins who seemed under the influence of drugs, was “angry and agitated”, and mentioned a missing bag.
Prosecutor John Keenan said she was “the only person apart from the deceased who had significant dealings with the accused that day”.
Collins told the carer he and Mr McCallum had both been taking Valium, and said that if Mr McCallum didn’t give him his bag or £300 he would take money from his bank account.
Mr Keenan said: “At one point he pulled the deceased off the bed and tried to drag him out of the room.
“The carer was telling the accused to leave the deceased alone. She was concerned and felt intimidated by what was happening.”
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She 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 heard Mr McCallum saying: “Look what you’ve done to me. What are you trying to do to me?” and saw Collins leaving with blood on his joggers.
Collins returned about 9.30pm and broke a window of Mr McCallum’s flat to get back in. At this point, police were called.
Arriving ten minutes later, officers were let in by Collins.
Mr Keenan said: “He led them to the body of the accused who was lying in bed in the foetal position, unresponsive, and not breathing.”
A post mortem put death down to head and chest injuries, combined with methadone and etizolam [street Valium] toxicity.
The examination identified “66 individual and groups of blunt-force injury — predominantly fresh, recent bruises around the face, head and trunk”.
Mr McCallum also had numerous fractured ribs and an “acute” subdural haemorrhage, which was thought to have been “of central significance”.
Mr Keenan said: “The pattern, type and distribution of the injuries were consistent with the deceased being dragged, and sustaining punches, kicks, or falls against hard surfaces.”
He said Mr McCallum “was clearly a frail and vulnerable individual”.
He said: “The precise form and nature of the assault on him will probably never be known.”
The court heard that but for his many injuries, the methadone and etizolam found in his blood would not have caused his death.
Collins, of Falkirk, pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide of Mr McCallum hours, before he was due to stand trial for his murder.
His plea to the lesser charge was accepted by the Crown.
Ian Duguid, QC, defending, said Collins was unable “to accurately remember all of the events of the day.”
He said: “He is very sorry for the consequences of his actions.
“He accepts that he bears the responsibility of another man’s death.”
“He obviously faces a long period in custody.”
Judge Lord Weir deferred sentence for reports until January 13, 2022, and continued Collins’ remand in custody.