A drunken drugged-up thug who kicked an 80-year-old man unconscious as the octogenarian was on his way to pay an early morning visit to his dead wife's grave was jailed for 28 months today.
Andrew Hendry, 20, had washed down Valium and cocaine with Buckfast, vodka and Dragon Soop before launching the unprovoked attack, stripped to the waist, kicking elderly Alexander Fife SIXTEEN times to the head, in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire.
Hendry, who appeared for sentence at Falkirk Sheriff Court today by videolink from prison, held his head in his hands as video footage of the attack - described by a sheriff as "depravity" - was shown.
Cheryl Clark, prosecuting, said Mr Fife had woken up about 5.00 am on March 13th this year, got dressed, and had begun to proceed straight to Tullibody Cemetery - a routine he had followed ever since his wife died in 1999.
About 5.30 he was walking along Stirling Road, Tullibody, half a mile from the graveyard, when Hendry - described as "intoxicated, topless, and staggering around in an aggressive manner" - began walking behind him, raising his arms as if to try to get his attention.
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Mr Fife turned round and engaged briefly with Hendry - a stranger - before turning his back and starting to walk away.
Ms Clark said: "The accused then approached Mr Fife and punched him twice to the head. Mr Fife remained on his feet, and tried to defend himself by holding his arms over his head.
"The accused then proceeded to kick Mr Fife in the head five times - the fifth time knocking him to the ground. The accused then kicked him in the head seven more times, plus to the body.
"He then stood over Mr Fife, shouting in his face. Mr Fife began to sit up, and the accused punched him in the head, causing him to fall back on the ground.
"He then kicked Mr Fife a further four times on the head. The third of these kicks appeared to knock Mr Fife unconscious."
Seconds earlier, a woman whose home overlooked the scene had heard a "banging" and had looked out to witness Hendry banging his head off a bus stop, before following Mr Fife.
He was screaming at Mr Fife, "What's your problem? Do you want a go?"
The woman then saw the attack begin, and ran out to Mr Fife's aid.
She began trying to calm Hendry down, while she was doing so police arrived and Hendry was arrested.
Ms Clark said: "He was able to advise that he had consumed Valium and cocaine, and had been drinking Buckfast, Dragon Soop and vodka, prior to the events unfolding.
"He could not recall the full events, but he kept saying, 'I know it's serious, I've done something, I know I've done it, I've got a feeling'."
He added: "I'm going to the jail for this. He's an older person. I never meant for this to happen."
Mr Fife was taken to hospital with two black eyes - one swollen shut - a nose so bruised he could not put on his glasses, and tenderness to his chest.
Ms Clark said: "Physically he had been left with no long-term damage, however mentally the incident has left him traumatised."
She said he now only went out when the streets were busy, and didn't feel safe walking alone any other time.
Hendry, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, admitted assault to the danger of life.
Kelly Howe, defending, said Hendry had been "exposed to alcohol and substance misuse from a very early age".
Ms Howe said: "He is still trying to process and accept the reality of his behaviour and describes it, himself, as shocking."
Imposing the 28-month jail term, Sheriff Derek Hamilton said he was "lost for words at the depravity" of the attack.
He said: "This was a truly, truly shocking incident. You have effectively stolen a significant, important part of this defenceless 80-year-old man's life.
"It was clear from the video that what you were doing to him could easily have endangered his life. You were kicking him on the head. You finished, then you went back, and you were kicking him on the head again."
Detective Constable Debbie Reid of Stirling CIC said after the case: "This was a despicable act of violence and was a completely random attack.
"At the time Hendry was under the influence of drink and drugs with his actions leaving lasting scars for the victim and his family."