A killer who murdered a man after a drugs binge should have the punishment part of his life sentence cut because a judge didn’t follow proper guidelines, a court heard.
Liam Hay, 21, was given a life sentence after pleading guilty to killing Anthony McGladrigan, 51, at his home in Cuminestown, Aberdeenshire, in June 2019.
Judge Lady Stacey ordered Hay to serve at least 19 years before he could apply for parole.
On Thursday, Hay’s advocate Ian Duguid QC told appeal judges that Lady Stacey had an obligation to consider his client’s youth in her sentencing deliberations.
He told judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Brodie and Lord Turnbull that their colleague failed to do this and that Hay’s punishment part should be reduced.
Mr Duguid added: “Whilst he is not a child, he is a young man and his brain is not fully developed yet.
“There should be a rehabilitation element to the sentence.”
At proceedings at the High Court in Glasgow last year, Hay entered a guilty plea to a murder charge.
The court heard how Hay had been a five-day binge with drugs before attacking Mr McGladrigan.
Prosecutor Erin Campbell said this included taking cocaine and the stimulant M-Cat and this made him delusional.
At one stage, Hay partied at his grandparents house while they were on holiday in Spain.
The property was just a short distance from Mr McGladrigan’s family home.
Hay was described latterly as “tripping” and his behaviour “increasingly strange”.
Around 4.30am on the morning of the murder, Hay’s friend tried to wake him.
The killer got up, but then grabbed a baseball bat and claimed he “wanted a word” with him.
His friend immediately raced out of the house as farm worker Hay yelled threats at him.
He then thumped on the door of Mr McGladrigan for help.
The dad – who worked at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Aberdeen – had been in bed with his wife shortly after finishing a shift.
Mr McGladrigan let Hay’s friend in and shouted to his wife: “Stay in the room. He says he is being chased by someone with a bat.”
A bare-footed Hay then stormed up and tried to open the door to the house.
Mr McGladrigan pleaded with him: “No, I am not letting you in. Calm down – put the baseball bat down.”
But Hay instead used the weapon to smash glass and force his way in.
It is not known exactly what happened, but Hay appears to have grabbed a knife from the victim’s home.
Mr McGladrigan screamed: “Oh my god, are you crazy? I have been stabbed.”
His wife dialled 999 as she desperately tried helping her stricken husband.
Hay remained hiding in the house still clutching the murder weapon before police swooped.
Mr McGladrigan meantime was rushed to hospital in Aberdeen, but never recovered.
He died due to “multiple” stab wounds to the back and chest.
Hay was later quizzed by police. He claimed he had now “sobered up”, but could not remember anything.
On initially being charged with attempted murder, he said: “What? No way. Honestly?”
Passing sentence, Lady Stacey described the killing as being “shocking” and “incredible”.
On Thursday, Mr Duguid told the Court of Criminal Appeal that his client was remorseful for his actions.
He added: “This was an awful event. He believes he will continue to reflect on these events every single day of his life.”
“He was suffering from delusions at the time of the incident.”
Lady Dorrian told the lawyers that the court would issue their decision sometime in the near future.
She added: “This is an anxious case and we will take time to consider our decision.”