Fife man killed in hammer attack over drug debt

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A convicted drug trafficker killed a man in a hammer attack after the victim ran up a debt he was unable to pay.

William Richardson turned up at a house in Kelty, in Fife, and repeatedly assaulted Colin Oliphant in a bedroom before driving off and leaving his victim.

Mr Oliphant, who owed £200 for drugs he used himself, died shortly afterwards from chest trauma complications.

Richardson later handed himself in to police and admitted culpable homicide.

During the attack, other people in the house heard Mr Oliphant say: "Sorry Willie, don't hit me, stop it Willie. What are you doing with that….dinnae, dinnae."

Richardson then emerged from the room with his injured victim walking behind him before the killer told him: "You know I am a boxer" and then punched him on the nose.

Richardson, who was jailed for heroin supply in 2013, drove off from the house with others and was described as acting "full of bravado", the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

Advocate depute Bill McVicar told the court: "The now deceased quickly began to struggle to breathe with his face swelling and asking for help, pointing to his neck."

An ambulance was called but the attack victim's face, throat and limbs continued to swell after he was placed in the vehicle.

Mr Oliphant, 38, went into cardiac arrest and despite efforts to save him he died. The cause of death was later given as complications of chest trauma.

The prosecutor said the fatal injury inflicted on Mr Oliphant, the father of a daughter, was a fracture of a rib on the left side of his back which had splintered the bone and punctured a lung.

Mr McVicar said: "As a result air leaked out of the left lung every time the deceased took a breath. The air leaking out filled the right side of the chest cavity causing it to crush the right lung."

Richardson ,35, formerly of Ruchill, Glasgow, was originally charged with murdering Mr Oliphant in the attack at Keltyhill Avenue on 6 September last year.

But he admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Mr McVicar said: "The deceased Colin Oliphant sourced cocaine for onward supply from the accused."

He said the victim had become indebted to Richardson due to his own use of drugs and was unable to pay what he owed.

'Going away for a long time'

The prosecutor said that prior to the fatal attack, he had expressed concern that he could not pay £200 for drugs that he had obtained.

After the assault Richardson had returned to a house in Ballingry, in Fife, where he was living with a woman and told her that the victim had been "causing issues at work", said Mr McVicar.

Richardson later called the mother of his two children and said he had got into a fight and done something stupid. He said he had "hit someone on the back with something, stating he had just reached for the first thing".

He also said he was "going away for a long time".

He went to Dunfermline police station on 8 September and said he wanted to speak to detectives before telling an officer: "There were witnesses there. I've never done an assault before."

The judge, Lord Woolman, deferred sentence on Richardson for the preparation of a background report and remanded him in custody.

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