Now they will decide on Monday whether to convict accused Graeme McLaren of the 64-year-old’s murder.

Greenock grandfather Mr Small died in his Weir Street flat four days after having a metal walking stick forced inside his body.

McLaren, 47, who denies all the charges against him, was yesterday grilled on the sixth day of the trial at the High Court in Glasgow over the circumstances surrounding the death in June.

During courtroom exchanges McLaren branded those who had given evidence against him as ‘liars and mad druggies’.

Continuing his cross-examination, advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC revealed that McLaren was being prescribed methadone and librium, a drug commonly given to alcoholics, just two days before he is alleged to have carried out the assault.

Mr Fairley said: “Although you speak disparagingly of the people who had gone to Mr Small’s home, you were no better.” The court also heard how McLaren had thrown out his blood-stained walking stick shortly after after the victim was assaulted.

Mr Fairley said: “The next day you knew rumours were awash and you threw your walking stick into a bin store.

“You disposed of the alleged weapon.” The court again heard a recording of a telephone call McLaren had made to a relative in which he cried on the phone.

He told her: “Jim Small, that’s who it’s about — shouting and bawling his mouth off as usual and I just lost the plot.” McLaren admitted making an ‘utterly callous’ comment about the incident in another ‘phone call to a former partner.

In his closing speech, Mr Fairley invited the jury to convict McLaren of murder.

He said: “Any assault of that kind by one human being on another human being is savage brutality.

“What sort of person does that then boasts and jokes about it?

“Someone who doesn’t care about inflicting such injuries and didn’t care if James Small lived or died.”