By Grant McCabe​

A TEENAGE thug who killed a stranger with a single punch has been locked up for three years and four months.

James Crossan, 18, attacked Jonathan McEwan following a night out in April this year.

Tragic dad Mr McEwan, who was originally from Barrhead but had been living in Paisley, suffered a fatal head injury.

Crossan returned to the High Court in Glasgow this morning, having earlier admitted a culpable homicide charge.

His QC asked for the apprentice plumber not to be put behind bars.

But Lord Burns said the killing was a “homicide of a grave nature” with “terrible consequences.”

The judge added that the attack was “unprovoked and unnecessary.”

He told Crossan: “Jonathan McEwan was a hard-working man who took pride in his family and his career.

“You have cut short his life. His family will have to live with the consequences of your conduct for the rest of their lives.”

First offender Crossan showed no emotion as he was led to the cells.

However, a number of his supporters in court burst into tears, with shouts of “love you” and “stay strong.”

Dad-of-three Mr McEwan, 33, and Crossan were not known to each other.

They had each been out separately with friends at clubs in Paisley before ending up standing in the town's busy New Street at around 3am on April 22.

Mr McEwan, who worked as a chef, allegedly gave a “nasty look” to someone who was with Crossan.

The court heard this “prompted” Crossan and a friend to confront him.

Crossan was initially described as approaching Mr McEwan “aggressively.”

The teen then moved away before returning to hit his victim.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC explained: “He punched him to the left side of his head, causing him to fall to the ground.”

The advocate depute said Mr McEwan then lay “motionless and obviously unconscious.”

Crossan left his victim bleeding in the street and ran home to tell his mum he had been in a fight.

The killer then learned online from friends that Mr McEwan had not survived.

Mr McSporran told the court: "He was distraught, saying 'I don't believe this – pray this boy has not died.'”

Crossan, of Paisley, contacted police himself and confessed to “striking” Mr McEwan once.

Mr McSporran added: “He said he had no intention of hurting him.”

Mr McEwan died two days later in hospital, having suffered a fatal brain injury.

The court was told his loss had left a “big gap” in his family's life.

In a victim impact statement, his mum said she missed a “hug” and a “blether” with her son.

John Scullion, defending, urged Lord Burns not to lock Crossan up and to instead order him to carry out unpaid work in the community.

The QC added: “His recollection of that night is incomplete due to the amount of alcohol he took.

“He said that he had never been violent to anyone before and was shocked by his behaviour.

“It seemed to be genuinely out of character.”

The judge told Crossan the sentence had been reduced from five years due to the guilty plea.