A JUDGE has mourned the state of Scottish society as he gave life sentences to two youths for the “brutal and merciless” murder of an Inishowen man making his way home after a night out.
Asif Rehman, 20, and Adel Ishaq, 20, both of Pollokshields, Glasgow, knocked Malin Head man, William McKeeney, 57, unconscious and repeatedly stamped on his head and body as he lay defenceless, just yards from his home.
Rehman was ordered to serve at least 16 years and three months in prison before becoming eligible for parole. Ishaq’s minimum term was set at 16 years.
The judge, Lord Uist said it had been a brutal and merciless attack. He added: “It is a shocking indictment of the state of our society that an innocent man should be murdered in a public street outside his own home in this manner. Senseless violence of this kind has to be suppressed so public safety can be maintained.”
It was alleged the killing had been racially motivated, but that claim was deleted from the charge during a trial at the High Court in Kilmarnock last month.
Mr McKeeney, who had been living in Glasgow for a few years, had been out for the night on 14 January. In the early hours of the next morning, he was nearing his home with a fish supper when he was attacked by Rehman and Ishaq in Melville Street, Pollokshields.
His partner, Annemarie Newlands, 48, described to the trial how she saw “two Asian men stamping on something.” She went outside and found Mr McKeeney on the ground.
Ishaq had recorded Mr McKeeney’s last words on his phone. He had asked: “What’s the problem, lads?”
Gordon Jackson, QC, for Rehman, told the sentencing hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh that there was no rational explanation for what had happened. It had been spontaneous and there had been no intention to kill, but the youths had acted in such a way as to bring about death.
Mr Jackson said it was right that the racial aggravation had been removed and he pointed out that Rehman had a partner and child “from the other side of the racial divide.”
Derek Ogg, QC, for Ishaq, said it was not a murder case in which there had been any pre-planning or the accused had gone out armed. He highlighted Ishaq’s remorse and his determination to use his time in custody to study and obtain qualifications.
Lord Uist said Mr McKeeney was a friendly and popular working man, making his way home with a fish supper in his hands after having been out for a drink on a Saturday night.
“For no reason whatsoever, he was set upon in the street by you two and subjected to a brutal and merciless attack which robbed him of his life.
“This attack...was witnessed by his girlfriend from the window of their home,” said Lord Uist.
“Such was the ferocity of the violence being employed by you that she thought you were breaking up a piece of furniture.
“ Only when she stood on a trunk to get a better view, she realised it was a person. She ran outside and discovered it was Mr McKeeney. At the end of your attack, you each walked away, leaving him lying in the roadway in a critical condition and, callously, you did nothing to help him.”
Lord Uist added that it was clear that Rehman and Ishaq, having taken drink and drugs, were “roaming the streets of Pollokshields looking for trouble.”
Unfortunately for Mr McKeeney, they had come across him.
“His girlfriend and close family members have been devastated by his untimely death and nothing I can say can diminish their grief and sorrow,” he said.
Rehman had pursued a criminal lifestyle from the age of 14, and had been subject to a community payback order and was on bail at the time of the murder.
Ishaq had only just turned 20 but already he had a bad criminal record.
Lord Uist said the difference in the minimum terms reflected Rehman’s breaching bail in committing the murder.
Outside court, members of the Scottish Defence League shouted abuse at friends of the accused. Extra police had been drafted in to prevent trouble.