HMA v Brian Moorehead & Others

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court on 17 May 2018, Sheriff Pender sentenced three men to custodial sentences for their part in unprovoked threats and assaults on a train travelling to Milngavie.

On sentencing, Sheriff Pender made the following statement in court: 

“Brian Moorehead, Darren Murray and Liam Reilly, you appear today for sentencing on separate charges to which you have pled guilty. However, the offences to which you have each pled guilty all form part of the same incident, and must be viewed in that context.

The incident in question took place within a carriage on the 10:30 pm Glasgow to Milngavie train. At around 10:45 pm you were observed by the conductor on the train boarding it at Westerton, in possession of alcohol. Four persons travelling as a group in the front carriage saw you entering that carriage. Since you were behaving in a rowdy fashion and had alcohol with you, they were concerned for their safety.

Brian Moorehead, you then approached the group in an aggressive manner with a glass vodka bottle in your hand. You are described as being “in the face” of the Complainer in charge 2. Two persons attempted to pull you away, and two of the group in the front carriage told one of the persons with you that they did not want any trouble.

Liam Reilly you then approached the Complainer Eve Anderson, and having enquired as to which of the boys with her was her boyfriend, and she having replied that none of them was, you told her that you were going to “pump” her. In effect, you were threatening to rape her.

As the train was approaching Bearsden station, when the group of complainers went to leave the train, you, Brian Moorehead, carried out a wholly unprovoked attack on the Complainer in charge 2 by lifting the bottle you were holding and striking him on the back of the head with it. You have also pled guilty to punching him repeatedly on the head. As a result of your assault on him he suffered injury.

When the Complainer in charge 3 went to assist, you Darren Murray, carried out a wholly unprovoked attack on him, by punching him to the head and face, knocking him to the ground, and thereafter repeatedly kicking him on the body. He too suffered injury as a result of this assault.

As the doors of the train opened, and the group of complainers ran off the train, you Liam Reilly, chased them. You shouted at the Complainer Eve Anderson that, in effect, you were still going to rape her, but that you were going to kill her first. In the context of all that had been going on, including the two unprovoked attacks by your co-accused, this must have been very alarming indeed.

It is fortunate that the injuries sustained by the complainers in charge 2 and charge 3 were not more serious than they were.

I need to stress, as I have done on numerous occasions in this court, that the consumption of alcohol is no excuse whatsoever and does not mitigate the seriousness of your actions to any extent.

It is simply unacceptable that law-abiding citizens cannot travel on local public transport at that time of night without being terrorised and assaulted by the likes of you. Members of the public are entitled to feel safe when they undertake such journeys, and the message must go out that conduct such as yours will be met with severe and deterrent sentences.

Brian Moorehead, you have an appalling record of previous offending including four previous convictions for assault, several convictions for contravention of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 and the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, and public order offences. You also have a history of breaching orders of the court. You are assessed as being at maximum risk of reoffending and as having the propensity to cause serious harm. I take account of your plea of guilty, but also of the fact that it was tendered only at the trial diet. In respect of charge 2 on the indictment, an assault with a weapon to the complainer’s injury, you will be sentenced to 3 years and six months imprisonment, reduced from 4 years to take account of your guilty plea. That sentence will be served consecutively to all other sentences currently being served by you. In addition, I have formed the view that there is a need to protect the public from serious harm at your hand on your eventual release. Accordingly I am going to make a Supervised Release Order, in terms of which, on your release from custody, you will be under supervision for a period of 12 months. During that period you are required to report to your supervising officer whenever and wherever required to do so. You have to keep your supervising officer promptly advised of any change in your address. You are further required to comply with any other requirement your supervising officer may reasonably make, including any requirement as to attendance for drug, alcohol and/or any other counselling. If you breach the order you may be brought back to court and returned to prison for all or any part of a period equal to that between the date of your first breach of the order and the date when your supervision would expire.

Darren Murray, you are in a somewhat different position than Brian Moorehead. To begin with you are younger, and were 15 years of age at the time of commission of this offence. Further, your record of offending is short, but serious. However, although your record is short, I am informed in the Social Work Report that you began offending at the age of 12 years, and have committed a significant number of offences since. You have been placed on Community Payback Orders, and have received custodial sentences. You are assessed as a persistent offender. You too are assessed as being at maximum risk of reoffending, and the report indicates that there is a risk of you perpetrating harm to others when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I take account of your plea of guilty, and of the fact that it was offered to the Crown at the first diet stage of the proceedings. I also take account of your relatively young age. In respect of charge 3 on this indictment, involving an unprovoked assault by punching the Complainer on the head knocking him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him on the body, causing injury, you will be sentenced to 18 months detention, reduced from two years to take account of your plea. That period of detention will be served consecutively to all other sentences currently being served by you. Given your history of offending and the vicious and unprovoked nature of this assault, I have concluded in your case also that there is a need to protect the public from serious harm at your hand on your eventual release. Accordingly I am going to make a Supervised Release Order, in terms of which, on your release from custody, you will be under supervision for a period of 9 months. During that period you are required to report to your supervising officer whenever and wherever required to do so. You have to keep your supervising officer promptly advised of any change in your address. You are further required to comply with any other requirement your supervising officer may reasonably make, including any requirement as to attendance for drug, alcohol and/or any other counselling. If you breach the order you may be brought back to court and returned to prison for all or any part of a period equal to that between the date of your first breach of the order and the date when your supervision would expire.

Liam Reilly, you too are in a somewhat different position than Brian Moorehead. No schedule of previous convictions has been laid before the court in respect of you. However, it is clear from the Social Work Report that you have been offending since the age of 14. You have a history of offending subsequent to the offence with which I am concerned, and have been placed on Community Payback Orders and have been sentenced to periods in custody. You have a history of breaching court orders. You too are assessed as being a persistent offender. You also have been assessed as being at maximum risk of reoffending, and as being capable of causing serious harm to others. I take account of your plea of guilty, but also the fact that it was tendered only at the trial diet. I also take account of your relatively young age, but to a lesser extent than in the case of your co-accused Darren Murray. The offence in charge 1, to which you have pled guilty, is an appalling one, involving wholly unprovoked behaviour of a horrendous nature which must have been, in the context of the whole incident, extremely alarming to the four complainers, and in particular to the female Complainer Eve Anderson. I have no doubt that the effects on her in particular will be very long lasting. In respect of charge 1 you will be sentenced to 32 months detention, reduced from three years to take account of your plea. That sentence will be served consecutively to all other sentences currently being served by you. In your case also, I have concluded that there is a need to protect the public from serious harm at your hand on your eventual release. Accordingly I am going to make a Supervised Release Order, in terms of which, on your release from custody, you will be under supervision for a period of 12 months. During that period you are required to report to your supervising officer whenever and wherever required to do so. You have to keep your supervising officer promptly advised of any change in your address. You are further required to comply with any other requirement your supervising officer may reasonably make, including any requirement as to attendance for drug, alcohol and/or any other counselling. If you breach the order you may be brought back to court and returned to prison for all or any part of a period equal to that between the date of your first breach of the order and the date when your supervision would expire.”