Date: 1 Jan 1997
Place: Kilbowie Road, Clydebank
Ralph Sprott was shot as he walked to work along the Kilbowie Road.
Two men were tried for his murder but the case against them was found not proven in 1997.
Ralph Sprott had lived in Morar Crescent and had just left home for work at the local fire station when a man that had been waiting for him shot him in the street.
The man that had been waiting for him had arrived on a motorcycle and had waited for about three days for his opportunity to shoot him. On the morning of the murder the man had been waiting at a bus stop wearing a hooded top and when Ralph Sprott passed him the man stepped out and started walking behind him and then shot him in the back of the head.
The man had arrived at the scene on a 1000cc motor cycle that he had parked up before going to stand at the bus stop. He had afterwards left on the motorcycle which was later found in a lock-up.
The man that was accused of ordering the assassination was a former business partner of Ralph Sprott and was said to have ordered it after Ralph Sprott had beaten him up and called him a grass for going to the police. Ralph Sprott had been tried for the attempted murder of the man but the court had heard at his trial that Ralph Sprott had acted in self-defence. It was said that Ralph Sprott had been enticed to the man's office and that when he got there he was attacked by the man and another man with an iron bar. Ralph Sprott was 6 foot 3 inches tall and was a martial arts expert and had put both of the men in hospital.
It was heard in court that the man that Ralph Sprott had beaten up was said to have organised and paid for the assassination and to have said that Ralph Sprott had 'signed his own death warrant' after beaten him up. The assault had ruptured the man's spleen and fractured his skull and some ribs. The man that was accused of organising the assassination said that he had been in Spain at the time.
They had been business partners and had worked out at the same gym together but had fallen out after the man accused of organising the assassination had sacked some of Ralph Sprott's bouncers.
It was said that the man had then hired the other man that was on trial to shoot Ralph Sprott, paying the man £10,000.
A man that gave evidence at the trial who was a self-confessed motorcycle thief said that he had supplied the bike to the man accused of the shooting in exchange for £2,000 that the man accused of the murder already owed him.
When the police found the motorcycle in a lock-up they found finger prints and belongings of the man accused of carrying out the murder and later found the keys to the lock-up and the motorcycle in the man accused of the murders sock. However, the man that was accused of the murder said that he had been home at the time with his 5-year old son. The police also found gunpowder residue in a glove and inside his jacket. However, the man said that he had supplied the bike to another man who he named. The man that he named was later convicted for the murders of two people in 2006 and it was said that he, 'could always be relied upon to carry out a hit as long as the price was right'. He had also been a police informant. The man was questioned by the police at the time but not charged.
At the trial the police also presented a scribble pad that they had found next to the man’s phone saying that it showed that he had spent £7,000 shortly after the murder.
At the trial the jury retired for 90 minutes and returned a not proven verdict.