Kirkcaldy man jailed for brutal street attack on brother

William Maxwell, at Hamilton sheriff Court, admitted assaulting his brother. Picture: John Devlin
William Maxwell, at Hamilton sheriff Court, admitted assaulting his brother. Picture: John Devlin

A Kirkcaldy man who beat up his brother and left him lying unconscious in the street has been jailed for 18 months.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that William Maxwell was unhappy at how much he was being paid by his brother who was also his boss at work.

It was claimed that Colin Maxwell, his line manager, became angry when William told him he had found a new job.

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William Maxwell (36), Orkney Street, Kirkcaldy, admitted assaulting Colin (37) to his severe injury in Semple Street, Hamilton, on December 30, 2017.

The brothers live in Fife but had been visiting their parents in Lanarkshire.

They were returning to the house after watching football in a pub when an argument started.

Vish Kathuria, prosecuting, told the court: “The dispute arose as the accused said he should be getting paid more for the job. His brother told him if he wasn’t happy he should look for a new job.

“William Maxwell didn’t take this comment well and became increasingly aggressive.

“Outside their parents’ house, witnesses saw the brothers face to face, arguing, then the accused punched Colin Maxwell, causing him to fall.

“While his brother was on the ground, the accused was kicking him on the head and body, then stamping on his head.

“Colin Maxwell recalls trying to cover his face with his arms to protect himself, but said the accused kept hitting him. He then blacked out.

“The accused left his brother lying unconscious on the pavement and went into the house where he told his mother that he’d knocked Colin out.

“Neighbours who witnessed the assault went to Colin Maxwell’s assistance and an ambulance was called.”

Mr Kathuria said the victim suffered nerve damage to one of his eyes and swelling and bruising around the jaw, cheek, nose and eye.

The fiscal added: “The imprint of a foot was on the right side of his face. The accused’s trainers were analysed and found to be bloodstained.”

Defence solicitor John McLaughlin disputed the fiscal’s description of how the argument started. He said things turned ugly after William told his brother he was quitting.

Mr McLaughlin told the court: “My client has, throughout childhood and to an extent during his adult life, struggled to cope with the manipulative and sometimes violent behaviour of his brother Colin.

“Colin had got him his job and was his line manager, but it was a difficult working relationship. My client was under the impression that Colin belittled him constantly in the workplace and this had an impact on his self-esteem.

“He had secured another job and was grappling with the prospect of explaining this to his brother.

“When he did finally grasp the nettle it did not go down well and Colin accused him of lack of loyalty and gratitude. Matters escalated and they squared up to each other.

“My client lost control and his behaviour was unacceptable, but he was terrified about what would happen if his brother got up and I think that explains the degree of violence he used.”

Mr McLaughlin said dad of one Maxwell is a hard working man. He produced a letter of support from his client’s father, adding: “He is very contrite and his sincere wish is to try to repair the relationship with his brother.”

The lawyer suggested that “on balance” a community-based sentence could be imposed, but Sheriff David Bicket disagreed.

The sheriff told Maxwell: “You have two previous convictions for assault, though I accept these are of some age, and your behaviour on this occasion goes too far for me to deal with it other than by custody.

“The least sentence I can impose is 18 months.”

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