A HEARTBROKEN uncle throttled a man who was said to have supplied drugs to his tragic nephews and then mocked them just hours after they died.

William Barclay, 45, flew into a rage after Steven Green allegedly made comments about the deaths of John and Scott Mitchell, who fell unconscious and failed to recover after taking the former legal high Etizolam.

The Mitchell brothers were both found dead in their East Renfrewshire homes on the same day in August last year.

Barclay heard his nephews had spent the previous night partying with Mr Green and a man named Mr Crossan.

READ MORE: Dad's plea to fly home daughter hospitalised in Thailand​

He went to check on Mr Crossan and Mr Green, who lived in the same block of flats, to make sure they were safe.

However, Barclay ended up attacking Mr Green and police who were called to the scene had to send for reinforcements to help drag him away.

Barclay was due to go on trial over the incident at an earlier hearing but struck a deal with prosecutors which saw him admit to assaulting Mr Green by throttling him, after claims he also rained blows on his head were dropped.

Procurator fiscal depute Jennifer McKee said two police officers went to the block where Mr Crossan and Mr Green live in Newton Mearns at around 5.40pm on the day in question.

She told Paisley Sheriff Court: “They saw the accused on top of Mr Green in the corner of a sofa. The accused had his hands round the neck of Mr Green.

“Police attempted to break the accused’s grasp, however they had no success and Mr Green was struggling for breath. One of the police officers struck the accused on the arm with his baton in an attempt to break his grasp but again had no success.

READ MORE: Barrhead firebug dodges prison sentence​

“The police officers had to continue to try to attempt to remove the accused from Mr Green and sought further resources in order to do this.

“The accused advised he was the uncle of two males who had passed away earlier that day. He believed Mr Green was responsible for the supply of drugs to his nephews and that’s why he targeted Mr Green.”

The body of John Mitchell, 29, was discovered in Castle Road at about 3.15pm on Sunday, August 5.

A short time later, his 28-year-old brother Scott was found lifeless in a property in nearby Moorhill Crescent.

Defence solicitor Terry Gallanagh told the court both brothers had spent the night before partying with Mr Green and Mr Crossan, who supplied them with Etizolam.

He added: “Mr Barclay is a man who has no previous convictions. He has had no previous involvement with the criminal justice system. He actually went to that address with the intention of ensuring that Mr Crossan and Mr Green were safe. He had no intention of targeting him in a negative sense...he had received information that all of them had been consuming Etizolam.

READ MORE: Inquiry hears of how two East Renfrewshire men died in Clutha helicopter crash

“Mr Green made some unsavoury comments to him, both about Mr Barclay and, indeed, the deceased. He reacted in that manner. He accepts it and regrets it.”

Mr Gallanagh had asked Sheriff Craig Harris to consider granting Barclay an absolute discharge – meaning that, although he admitted behaviour amounting to criminal conduct, it would not count as a conviction and not give him a criminal record.

The lawyer said the dad-of-three could lose his job as a HGV driver if convicted and wouldn’t be able to provide for his wife and children.

But Sheriff Harris deferred sentence until last week for background reports to be prepared.

When Barclay returned to the dock to learn his fate, he was placed on a Community Payback Order.

As he ordered him to do 260 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months, the judge told him: “This was an attack on a man in his own home, which has clearly taken place when you lost your temper.

“You placed your hands around his neck and police officers were not able to remove you and a baton strike did not cause you to desist.

“This is an extremely serious matter but I take into account your previous good character and the loss of your two nephews, which you’d only just found out about.”