Glasgow & West Scotland

John Black jailed for bat attack on John Gallagher

A man who left his 21-year-old victim brain damaged after beating him on the head with a wooden bat over a £40 drug debt has been jailed for 12 years.

John Black, 20, admitted assaulting John Gallagher in Cleland, North Lanarkshire, in June 2010.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Nicholas Naughton and Connor Hynds were given 300 hours of community service.

They had earlier pleaded guilty to brandishing weapons and demanding Mr Gallagher give them money.

At an earlier hearing, the High Court in Glasgow heard how Black, and Hynds, 20, both from Wishaw, had been out at a nightclub before the attack.

Weapons distributed

Hynds offered to drive two other friends home who had been out that evening - Naughton, 23, and Robert Young.

About 0300 BST on 13 June, the group met near the Soul Suite club in Wishaw.

Prosecutor John Scullion told the court: "John Black said they were going to Cleland first as a guy there owed him £40.

"Four weapons were then distributed between the three accused and the witness, Robert Young."

When they reached Cleland, Black pointed out Mr Gallagher as being the person who owed him money and Hynds stopped the car.

The court heard when the men got out of the car, Derek McFadyen gave £20 to Black and told him he would pay the rest for Mr Gallagher and left to get the money.

Mr Scullion said: "After the witness Derek McFadyen ran off towards Scarhill Street, the accused John Black struck the complainer twice to the head with a wooden bat causing the complainer's injuries.

"The accused later told the witness Robert Young that he struck the complainer a second time when the complainer was getting up from the ground after the first blow."

The court heard that Mr Gallagher suffered serious head injuries.

He was transferred last September to Murdostoun Castle Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit where he stays and is severely disabled mentally and physically.

'Utterly cowardly'

Black later pleaded guilty to brandishing a weapon at Mr Gallagher, demanding money and repeatedly striking him on the head to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and impairment and danger of life.

Jailing him, temporary Judge Michael O'Grady QC said: "In this appalling chain of events you were the instigator and author of the dreadful fate that has befallen Mr Gallagher.

"The background I am told was drugs and your motivation was financial.

"You, in a calculated fashion recruited others to effect a drug debt and you were prepared to use violence and you did on a young man who was defenceless - your behaviour was utterly cowardly.

"His life and that of his family has been utterly destroyed. He is trapped forever in a broken body and broken mind and the anguish of his loved ones can barely be imagined."

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