A man has been sentenced to 38 months in prison for plying a 15-year-old girl with alcohol and abandoning her on a hill to die.
On 8 December 2018, Mhari O’Neill’s body was discovered by a dog walker on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. The previous night she had been drinking in the park with Ewan Fulton, then 18, before he abandoned her to catch the last train home.
The pathologist on the case determined hypothermia to be the probable cause of the schoolgirl’s death, with intoxication likely playing a role.
On Thursday the 20-year-old was handed a custodial sentence by judge Norman McFadyen for the “gravity of the offence”.
Judge McFadyen told Fulton: “You had no justification for believing that a severely intoxicated child could safely be abandoned in this remote part of Edinburgh on a cold, wet and windy night.
“There were many things you could have done. You essentially did nothing for her, you panicked and left.
“There was nothing you could do without assistance and you were not willing to get any assistance for Mhari when she was at her most vulnerable.
“I accept that you bitterly regret what happened. I consider, because of the gravity of the offence, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate sentence.”
The judge added that he would have given Fulton a four-year sentence had it not been for his guilty plea.
During the trial, the court heard how Fulton and Mhari met through social media site Yubo, which Fulton described as “Tinder for teenagers.”
Before meeting up with Mhari at Calton Hill on December 7, Fulton bought a litre of vodka and cigarettes to share with the schoolgirl. Mhari had told her mother that she was meeting a girlfriend at a Christmas market.
While they were together, they drank the vodka and engaged in “heavy petting”. The court heard how Fulton bit the girl’s breast and compressed her neck.
The court heard how Fulton told the police that Mhari was in a state of partial undress and “unable to speak” when he propped her up against a bench before leaving to catch the last service from Waverly train station.
It was also heard how Fulton was “full of remorse” and had made a suicide attempt following Mhari’s death.
Fulton will now serve 38 months in prison, backdated to 24 May, and will be added indefinitely to the sexual offenders register.