Relief as brothers are guilty of Tony killing

Tony Dryden's sister Vivien Cowan and mum Olga.
Tony Dryden's sister Vivien Cowan and mum Olga.

The sister of a Motherwell man who was battered to death has told of her relief after two brothers were convicted of the killing.

Members of Tony Dryden’s family listened to harrowing details of his death during a two-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Azeem Aslam (26) and Zeeshan Aslam (23), both of Glasgow, had denied murdering Mr Dryden, but they were convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide. They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

The court heard Mr Dryden, of Milton Street, died after a feud involving rival kebab shops in Airdrie. A Dryden family friend worked at one of the shops and Tony was blamed for smashing the window of the Aslams’ takeaway on March 23 this year.

The brothers chased Tony into a garden and battered him with a baseball bat and a piece of wood. He suffered severe head injuries and died the next day in Monklands Hospital.

Tony’s sister Vivien Cowan said: “If they had done the right thing and phoned the police rather than take the law into their own hands, my brother would still be here.”

Vivien said Tony, who leaves behind a 10-year-old son, also Tony, was a much-loved brother - ‘a joker who would do anything for anyone’.

The Dryden family have also lost dad George and another brother, Ralph, in recent years and Vivien said Tony’s death had been particularly hard for mum Olga.

She said: “Mum looks after young Tony and that helps her. Like us, she’s just glad that - even though we didn’t get guilty verdicts for murder - both of the accused were found guilty of killing Tony.

“The last two weeks have been hard, but we wanted to know the details of what happened. My sister, Fiona, and I identified Tony’s body and were due to give evidence at the trial, but at least we were spared that as our evidence was agreed by both sides.”

More on the background to the case in this week’s Motherwell Times, on sale now.