Birthday pensioner stabbed his friend

Court heard friends argued after birthday drinking session
Court heard friends argued after birthday drinking session

A man celebrating his 75th birthday stabbed and seriously injured his long time friend during a drink-fuelled row.

Robert Wotherspoon hasn’t been in trouble before, but was warned by a sheriff he could be sent to prison.

Wotherspoon, of Forgewood Road, Motherwell, admitted assaulting James Cunningham (60) to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement. The attack happened at Wotherspoon’s home on November 26 last year.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard Mr Cunningham suffered two stab wounds and a partially collapsed lung.

Sheriff Ray Small told defence agent Matthew Berlow: “It’s somewhat unfortunate that your client gets to the age of 75 before picking up his first conviction.

“Even given his advancing years he should prepare himself for the possibility of a custodial sentence. It’s more good luck than judgment that this didn’t turn out more serious.”

Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, said that when police officers arrived Wotherspoon told them: “I stabbed wee Jamesie twice.”

Mr Forsyth told the court the men had been friends “for many years” and met up to celebrate the accused’s 75th birthday.

He said: “Throughout the day they consumed a significant quantity of alcohol. An argument escalated just after midnight and the accused asked Mr Cunningham to leave his house, but he refused.

“Wotherspoon then went into the kitchen, took a knife from the knife block then walked towards his friend, who was sitting on the couch, and stabbed him twice.

“The first blow was to the left side of the chest and the second was in the area of the left armpit.”

Wotherspoon called an ambulance for Mr Cunningham, who was “bleeding heavily”, and the police were also alerted.

The victim was taken to Wishaw General Hospital where the stab wounds were stitched.

Police officers asked Wotherspoon where the weapon was and he told them he had put it back in the knife block in the kitchen.

Mr Forsyth said the accused was interviewed about the stabbing and made “full admissions”. He was held in custody, but was given bail after an initial court appearance.

Sheriff Small deferred sentence until July 31 and continued bail. He told the pensioner: “This is a serious matter, but as you are a first offender I am required to get background reports before deciding how to deal with this.

“It might be the case you get a custodial sentence, but I won’t make a decision until I hear from your solicitor and read the reports.”