Glasgow & West Scotland

George Kerr jailed for 'ammonia attack' on Greg Aitken

Ashton Lane Image copyright Google
Image caption Kerr attacked Mr Aitken while he was busking in Ashton Lane in Glasgow's west end

A man who admitted throwing an ammonia-like substance into the face of a student busker in Glasgow has been jailed for 64 months.

George Kerr, 57, carried out the attack on 22-year-old Greg Aitken in Ashton Lane in the city's west end on 12 September last year.

The High Court in Paisley heard Kerr attacked Mr Aitken after the student had an argument with another man.

The victim is still suffering from the effects of chemical burns to his eyes.

Kerr, from the city's Ruchill area, admitted assaulting Mr Aitken by throwing an unidentified noxious substance onto his face and eyes to his severe injury and permanent impairment.

'Dreadful crime'

Jailing him, Lord Bannatyne told Kerr: "This was a truly dreadful crime. It was a planned revenge attack on Mr Aitken involving the use of a strong alkali which was then thrown into this young man's face.

"These actions have had the most appalling results for him.

"He had recently graduated from university with a music degree, and given the injuries which you have inflicted is not going to, in any proper sense, follow that career."

A previous court hearing was told that Mr Aitken regularly busked in Ashton Lane and in early September had an argument with a beggar, who grabbed him round the clothing and neck.

Mr Aitken punched the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, before the beggar ran off.

On 12 September, at about 18:30, the beggar walked along Ashton Lane with Kerr and pointed out Mr Aitken saying: "That's him."

At the time the beggar had a cast on his arm and shouted at Mr Aitken, saying: "I'll get you in two months."

Mr Aitken took this to mean that the other man intended to assault him once his cast was removed.

Blurred vision

Two hours later Kerr walked up and threw a paper cup full of an alkaline liquid at Mr Aitken.

The court heard that a steward at a nearby pub threw water over him in a bid to wash away the noxious substance.

A friend then took him by taxi to the Western Infirmary where he was treated before being transferred to an eye specialist at Gartnavel Hospital.

Before the attack Mr Aitken's sight was perfect, now it is blurred, and he can only see things which are about four inches from his face.

He also has to wear sunglasses because daylight hurts his eyes, which are bloodshot and sore.

Following the attack, Kerr was identified from photographs and at an identification parade.

He initially denied any involvement but pleaded guilty to the attack when he appeared in court.

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