Glasgow & West Scotland

James Simpson, 76, murdered by car thief in Ashgill

James Siimpson
Image caption James Simpson died after being hit by his own car

A 76-year-old man has been murdered by a car thief who ran him over outside his home in South Lanarkshire.

James Simpson died after being hit by his own black Land Rover Discovery in Graham Place, Ashgill, near Larkhall, at about 20:10 on Tuesday.

The vehicle was found in the Crossford area about an hour and a half later.

Strathclyde Police described the incident as "tragic" and urged "anyone with a conscience", who could help with inquiries, to come forward.

Officers believe whoever stole Mr Simpson's vehicle may have attempted to enter his house first to try to find the keys.

'Critical' importance

Mr Simpson, who was at home with his wife, went out to try and protect his property and was hit by the car.

Image caption Police were called to Graham Place on Tuesday evening

The black 57 plate Discovery was later recovered intact about five miles away in Crossford.

Police said it will be of "critical" importance to their investigation and will be forensically examined.

They believe another vehicle may also have been involved in the incident and appealed for information.

Det Sup Robbie Allan, of Strathclyde Police, said: "Mr Simpson's vehicle was being stolen from outside his house. Mr Simpson has gone out to intervene and attempt to retrieve his property, his vehicle.

"He sustained a number of injuries during that attempt to get his property back and unfortunately he's died as a result of that."

'Tragic event'

He added: "I would appeal to anyone who was in the Ashgill area or Crossford area between 8pm and 9pm last night who saw anything suspicious or who saw this vehicle to come forward.

Image caption An old picture of the black 57 plate Land Rover Discovery can be seen on Google Streetview

"This is an absolutely tragic event. This has been a theft of a motor vehicle which has escalated to such an extent a 76-year-old man has lost his life and I'm really appealing for anyone with any knowledge of the crime or who was in the area to come forward to the police."

Police believe Mr Simpson, who had an adult son, died at the scene.

Graham Place was cordoned off with police tape on Wednesday with officers standing guard at the scene. The door of the property was boarded up.

An incident support unit and three police vehicles were parked nearby.

Police said the murder was an isolated incident, but warned people not to get involved in such incidents but to contact police.

Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said: "I would like to reassure people in Ashgill that Strathclyde Police are thoroughly investigating this horrific incident and have told me they have some positive leads.

"I know the whole community will be shocked by what happened last night.

She added: "This is normally a quiet village with very few crimes."

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