A MAN who carried out a vicious assault on a convicted killer and left him with a serious brain injury has been jailed.

Ryan Lafferty claimed his victim – the so-called "wheelbarrow killer" John Foxton – had been making threats while boasting he'd killed somebody before.

Prosecutor Collette Fallon previously told Falkirk Sheriff Court Lafferty assaulted him at around midnight on June 30 last year, in Tillicoultry.

CCTV showed Foxton, 46, "swaying" back towards his home in Sauchie when he met Lafferty, 28, near the town centre.

The depute fiscal said: "The accused then points off camera and beckons Foxton to come with him, and they both walk off together in the direction of Park Street."

Down the street, however, Lafferty was recorded punching Foxton once to the face.

Ms Fallon said Foxton fell "straight back", and to the ground.

Friends who had been with Lafferty ran towards the scene and found Foxton "on the floor, unconscious, snoring and bleeding".

The depute fiscal said Lafferty told a friend at the scene that "he and Foxton had been arguing about the speed of their vehicles, which made the accused feel threatened as Foxton made threats and said he would 'do him in' if his car was not faster".

Witnesses called an ambulance, and arrived to find Lafferty – naked from the waist up – cradling Foxton's head while he lay unconscious, unresponsive and bleeding from the left eye.

He was taken to hospital, where he was found to have bleeding and bruising on the brain and a fractured skull and spent more than three months in hospital, two of which were in intensive care.

It was thought he would require long-term care in an institution, but he eventually recovered enough to be discharged home although he needs "significant support in the community".

Father-of-two Lafferty, of Tillicoultry, previously admitted a charge of assault to severe injury and impairment, having initially been charged with attempted murder.

Defence solicitor Virgil Crawford claimed his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said: "Mr Foxton had been making threats to strike him, pointing out that he had killed somebody before.

"Mr Foxton does have a previous conviction for culpable homicide."

On Friday, January 24, a sheriff sentenced Lafferty to 16 months' imprisonment for the assault, with a supervised release order of eight months upon his release.

In 2006, Foxton kicked and battered 19-year-old Ryan Copeland to death after a row in Alloa, then carted his body in a wheelbarrow to the house where Ryan lived with his parents and tipped him out near the doorstep.

He was imprisoned for six-and-a-half years.