Anger after killer of Scots Guardsman is jailed for 2½ years
THE family of a teenage soldier killed just days before he was to have returned home for Christmas have hit out at the two-anda-half-year jail sentence handed to his attacker.
andrew Gibson, from Cumbernauld, was punched in the back of the head by John Flannigan during a drunken attack in a nightclub in Darlington, County Durham, on 11 December. He hit his head on the dance floor, causing fatal injuries.
The 19-year-old Scots Guardsman was based at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire and had been due to go back home for Christmas, but he died in hospital on 17 December.
Flannigan, 17, from Darlington, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at an earlier hearing.
Mr Gibson’s parents, Freddy and Linda Gibson, said yesterday: “The sentence delivered today is definitely not enough.
“We are extremely disappointed at the length of sentence handed down and plan on appealing this through the Crown appeal process.
“andrew was a loving son who would do anything for anybody. We are so proud of him and his achievements. He had so much to give and was full of the joys of life. He has been robbed of his future, his hopes and his dreams.
“We just keep wishing he would walk through the door with his cheeky grin.
“andrew was also a dedicated soldier.”
Mr Gibson was due to be posted to afghanistan in the new year with his regiment, and friends said he was “very happy and looking forward” to going.
His parents said: “His dream of going to afghanistan in the service of his Queen and country was taken away from him.
“andrew’s death has affected our lives and also those of his friends and family – we have been handed a life sentence of pain, grief and ‘what ifs’. The person who killed andrew may be free to live his life by the time he is the same age andrew was when he died.
“The person who killed andrew will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life.”
The Gibsons called for tougher punishments to be handed out to licensed premises that allow under-18s entry.
“If anything positive is to come from andrew’s death, we hope nightclubs ensure no one under the age of 18 is allowed entry and licensing authorities deal harshly with those who allow children on the premises,” they said.
“We also believe nightclubs should be forced to install CCTV which covers all areas so trouble can be stopped before it becomes serious.”
They added: “We would like to thank the army, and in particular the officers and men of 1st Battalion Scots Guards, Durham Police and our friends for all the support they have given us.
“andrew didn’t deserve to die. We have lost a truly wonderful son, and the army has lost a committed soldier. We will never forget him.”
Teesside Crown Court heard Flannigan’s attack had been “payback” for an incident minutes earlier. But Nicholas de la Poer, defending, said: “He [Flannigan] recognises what he did was nothing short of terrible, with terrible consequences.”
Judge Peter Fox told Flannigan: “I sentence you on the factual basis, which the prosecution have accepted, that you had minutes before been struck once to the face by Mr Gibson.
“When you recognised him as being the person responsible for having struck you, you believed there would be further trouble and you threw your punch.
“as you said in your interview to the police, ‘it was payback’.” POLICE are hunting four men after a couple in the 50s were robbed at their home in Glasgow.
The 53-year-old male householder confronted the men as they forced their way into his home in Redpath Drive, Cambuslang, early on Thursday. He was seriously assaulted and needed hospital treatment for a head injury. The suspects stole items of jewellery and made off. a COUNCIL worker was held up by three robbers who stole a trailer carrying a mini digger attached to the back of his van.
The robbers were in a white pick-up style van and police are appealing for witnesses after the incident in the Law area of Carluke on Thursday.
They also urged businesses to contact them if anyone tries to sell them the Kubota digger. THE BBC has lambasted the publishing company that plans to release an autobiography unmasking Top Gear’s mystery driver, The Stig.
Executive producer andy Wilman accused HarperCollins of chasing profits to expose a “harmless” TV secret. and he insisted the BBC had a right to protect The Stig’s anonymity from “a bunch of chancers”. FIRST Minister alex Salmond has announced funding to help train aspiring Gaelic filmmakers.
a total of £10,000 from the Scottish Government and £15,000 from Bòrd na Gàidhlig will support skills training for entrants to the Gaelic-language short-film competition, FilmG.
Andrew Gibson had been due to go to Afghanistan
Freddy and Linda Gibson
said they were ‘so proud’ of their son
John Flannigan punched his victim in a drunken attack