A THUG jailed for his part in a 'brutal' attack on a murder victim woman in Port Glasgow yesterday won his appeal against conviction for culpable homicide.

Weir Mackay has had his original 14-year sentence reduced to one of five years after judges decided that he was responsible for nothing more than seriously assaulting Karen Young.

Mackay, 45, had been found guilty by a High Court jury in April last year of acting in concert with murderous co-accused Allan Docherty in the killing of Ms Young.

But appeal judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Turnbull and Lord Pentland yesterday overturned that decision.

They convicted Mackay of assaulting Ms Young to severe injury by means unknown and inflicting blunt force injuries upon her.

The ruling comes after Brian McConnachie QC stated that medical evidence against his client had 'fell far short' of proving that Mackay's actions were a 'significant contributory factor' in Ms Young's death.

Ms Young was murdered by Docherty, 35, at his flat in the Port's Kelburn Terrace on June 9, 2017 and he is now serving an 18-year prison sentence.

He killed her after she was accused of stealing drugs and the main cause of death was neck injuries, and her larynx was fractured.

Mr McConnachie yesterday told the hearing, which was conducted via internet link, that Mackay had an 'appalling record' for dishonesty but only one previous conviction for assault.

The QC said drugs had become the 'scourge' of his client's life following a 'number of adverse childhood experiences'.

Mr McConnachie added that Mackay — who stole Ms Young's handbag and never sought medical help — had shown 'genuine empathy' for the murder victim, adding: "Mr Mackay does have to live with the fact that as a result of an incident of which he was involved a young lady lost her life."

The appeal court heard that Mackay has had numerous prison sentences stretching back to 1991 but his current partner, with whom he began a relationship in 2014, has 'stuck by him'.

Mr McConnachie said: "Prior to commission of offence Mr Mackay was engaged well with drugs services.

"He is far from being a stupid man and has achieved a number of passes in Highers subjects during his time in custody."

Delivering the appeal court's decision, Lady Dorrian said: "The injuries inflicted were severe and would have been like to have been prosecuted on indictment at the sheriff court on a libel of repeatedly assaulting the complainer to her severe injury.

"Counsel submitted that drugs had been the scourge of his life but he had prior to this offence been engaging well with drugs services.

"We note, however, that he had taken cocaine on the morning of the incident."

Lady Dorrian added: "We acknowledge that the appellant showed some empathy for the effects of his actions when being interviewed, but nonetheless he behaved in a callous fashion.

"He distracted a housing officer who called at the house during the incident, a potential source of aid, did not seek help for the victim even after he had fled the scene, by which point he had stolen her handbag.

"He has had a drug problem since his youth and despite what he says it seems clear that he is not really motivated to do much about it."

The appeal judges backdated the substitute five year sentence to April 18 last year, the date when Mackay was first jailed.