Cumbernauld killer jailed after stabbing man in chest in shopping centre attack

Victim James Ross
-Credit: (Image: Police Scotland/PA)

A young killer has been locked up for seven years after stabbing a man to death at a shopping centre.

Michael McKeown was aged 18 when he struck James Ross on February 14, 2022. The 27 year-old victim - nicknamed Chuckie - did not survive the attack at Abronhill shopping centre in Cumbernauld.

McKeown - now aged 20 - had faced a murder accusation. He had claimed to be acting in self defence. But, he was instead convicted of the reduced charge of culpable homicide last month.

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McKeown was today sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

As well as being locked up, judge Lady Drummond ordered him to be supervised for a further three years on his release. The attack occurred around 4pm at the shopping centre while McKeown was out with friends.

CCTV captured Mr Ross - who barely knew the killer - approach the group with an associate. The court heard McKeown, of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, ended up kicking Mr Ross while he also had a knife in his hand.

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In his speech to jurors, prosecutor Greg Farrell said the killer then "appeared to lunge forward with an outstretched arm". Mr Ross was stabbed in the face and chest.

The victim initially gave chase as McKeown and his friends ran off. But, Mr Farrell told the court: "Shortly afterwards he would collapse and die.

"This was a brutal assault in broad daylight and McKeown was not acting in self defence."

In his evidence, McKeown told his KC Thomas Ross that he could not "give a good answer" as to why he stabbed his victim. He claimed to have a blade as he was a young boy and not from that area.

McKeown insisted to Mr Farrell, in cross examination, that he had not been "thinking" about knifing Mr Ross. He claimed it was he who was "fighting for his life".

Mr Farrell: "You were trying to show your friends who was the big man was here?"

McKeown: "I was trying to protect them."

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