Motherwell man’s killers get total of 15 years jail

Tony Dryden's sister Vivien Cowan with mother Olga.
Tony Dryden's sister Vivien Cowan with mother Olga.
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Two brothers who battered a Motherwell man to death have been jailed for a total of 15 years at the High Court in Glasgow.

Azeem Aslam (26) was locked up for eight years and told he will be supervised closely for three years when he is released.

His brother Zeeshan (23) was handed a seven-year stretch.

They pair, both from Glasgow, had been charged with murdering Tony Dryden (42), of Milton Street, Motherwell, but a jury convicted them of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

The judge, Lord Stewart, described the sentences as ‘substantial’, but members of Mr Dryden’s family who attended court left disappointed.

Tony’s sister Vivien Cowan said: “I was expecting more. They won’t serve all of this and for taking someone’s life I think it’s shocking.”

The court heard that Tony’s death on March 23 this year was the culmination of a feud between the owners of separate kebab shops in Airdrie.

A Dryden family friend worked in one of the shops and on the day of his death Tony smashed a window of the takeaway owned by the Aslam family.

The brothers chased him along the street into the garden of a house where they battered him with a baseball bat and a piece of wood.

Tony suffered severe head injuries and died in hospital the next day.

The court heard Tony had a hammer with him and the brothers claimed they tried to defend themselves as he lashed out at them. However, a passer-by said Tony made only a weak swipe with the hammer as the brothers came at him with their weapons.

In court today (Thursday) QCs for the brothers insisted they had not gone out to kill.

Gordon Jackson, defending Azeem, said: “This is not a case of young men going out looking for trouble, finding someone minding his own business and attacking him.

“This happened because a window was smashed deliberately. They chased this man quite legitimately although what happened thereafter was not, of course, lawful.”

Donald Findlay, for Zeeshan, added: “When the temper is up and the blood hot young men get carried away . It’s easy to get caught up in it, but much more difficult to pause and reflect.”

The judge, who read a victim impact statement from the Dryden family, acknowledged the Aslam brothers came from a good home and said he was confident they could at some stage make a ‘positive contribution to society’.

He added: “The punishment is not only for you but also for your family. I’m bound to impose substantial sentences of imprisonment.”

Lord Stewart said Azeem would get the heavier sentence as he had a record which included violence and had armed himself with the baseball bat during the chase before the ‘final encounter’ with Mr Dryden.

Zeeshan, on the other hand, was a ‘genuine first offender’ and had only picked up a piece of wood at the scene of the attack.