A BARRHEAD knife thug who stabbed his friend and “abandoned” him to die outside a hospital from a wound which could have been treated has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years.

Ben McCulloch, 28, attacked Stephen Quigley at his home on March 23 last year.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how McCulloch and 26-year-old Stephen had been socialising with each other in the moments leading up to the fatal assault.

McCulloch struck his victim, who lived in Neilston, on the side of the head with a blade.

Despite being a disqualified driver, he then drove Stephen to a closed section of Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and left him in a “secluded” part of the grounds there.

The disorientated victim tried to get help by walking to the Accident and Emergency department – six minutes away – but was found dead outside a daytime ward the next morning.

Barrhead News: Stephen Quigley was found dead outside a daytime ward at Paisley's Royal Alexandra HospitalStephen Quigley was found dead outside a daytime ward at Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital (Image: Image: Newsquest)

A previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow was told Stephen would have survived if he had received immediate medical treatment.

McCulloch, who was initially charged with murder, admitted a lesser offence of culpable homicide and was sentenced this morning.

Members of Stephen’s family sat in the public benches and wept as judge Lord Mulholland told McCulloch that he had left them serving a “life sentence.”

He added: “Having inflicted an injury on him, you transported him to hospital and abandoned him.

“You did not wait to see if he was alright and if he was in the care of medical staff. Instead, you left him in hospital grounds, where he bled to death.

“You didn’t ensure he was alright. Your first thought was for yourself. You got on with your life and you did not care for the welfare of your friend. You have have left his family serving a life sentence.

“The use of knives in assaults are a curse in this country.”

At the earlier hearing, the court was told the two friends had been drinking in McCulloch's flat on the day of the incident.

The pair were in good spirits as they uploaded video clips to social media.

Prosecutor Angela Gray said: "Later that afternoon, McCulloch and Mr Quigley became involved in an altercation.

"During this, McCulloch took control of the knife and struck Mr Quigley, inflicting a blow to his head, causing the long-incised wound on the right side of his head."

McCulloch dropped his victim near a closed mental health ward at the RAH at 5.25pm.

A legal document stating the charge against McCulloch described the location as being “secluded.”

Ms Gray added: "The A&E is around a six-minute walk from where Mr Quigley was dropped off by McCulloch."

Stephen, who was "unsteady on his feet" and suffering from a head injury, was spotted on CCTV as he tried to seek help.

He was found dead by nursing staff at 7am the next morning.

It was established that the head injury had been caused by a weapon with a sharp edge and moderate force was used.

Ms Gray added: "The injury to his head would have been survivable if prompt medical attention had been secured."

McCulloch was arrested more than two weeks later after he was traced to an Airbnb property in Newcastle.

Defence advocate Ian Duguid KC told Lord Mulholland that McCulloch was remorseful for his actions.

He added: “I’d like to highlight the extent of Mr McCulloch’s remorse. He has a mortgage, he is a homeowner and he has a trade. He is a joiner. He is in steady employment.

“He has all the factors in his life which means he shouldn’t be appearing in this court on a charge of this nature.”