HMA v Brian Brooks and Josh McIntyre

Today at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Brodie sentenced Brian Brooks and Josh McIntyre each to 12 years’ imprisonment in respect of their convictions for attempted murder and assault.

On sentencing, Lord Brodie made the following statement in court: 

"Brian Brooks and Josh McIntyre, on 15 August 2019, in the High Court in Glasgow you were both convicted by majority verdicts of the jury of three offences while acting together and with another person. These offences were: (1) the assault on and attempted murder of Christopher Mellon; (2) an assault on Donna Galloway to her severe injury and permanent disfigurement; and (3) an assault on a child, then aged 3 years old, by striking him on the head with machetes or other similar sharp instruments to his injury.

I understand that you deny any involvement in these offences but you will understand that I must proceed on the basis of the verdict of the jury following on your trial.

At trial, your respective counsel challenged the prosecution case that you were among the three perpetrators of the attack, which included these assaults, but there was no challenge to the awful nature of the attack on the evening of 24 September 2018 at the victim’s home in Paisley. When addressing the jury, Mr McElroy on behalf of you Mr Brook, described the attack as “horrific, unconscionable” and something for which there was “no room in a modern society”. On behalf of you Mr McIntyre, Mr Keegan, when he addressed the jury said: “There is no doubt that the complainers were subject to a terrible attack, leaving them maimed and mentally and physically scarred”. I see no reason to disagree with either counsel.

This was what appeared to be a carefully premeditated attack by three attackers armed with machetes and knives in a private home

An indication of the planning that preceded the attack is the fact that the three attackers were dressed in what were described in evidence as white “paper suits”, “forensic suits” or “boiler suits” with hoods; in other words, in coveralls the wearing of which was designed, no doubt, to make identification difficult and to reduce the likelihood of transfer of evidentially significant material between the attackers and the crime scene

By their verdict the jury found that you, Mr Brook, and you, Mr McIntyre, were two of these attackers and that the attack on Christopher Mellon was murderous in intent

The attack may have been primarily aimed at Christopher Mellon, who suffered the most severe injuries, but you were not inhibited in pressing forward with the assault on Mr Mellon by the presence of Ms Galloway and a child: all three victims of the assault suffered injuries from sharp instruments

As is evident from the agreed evidence at trial and the victim statements with which I have been provided, the consequences for the victims of these assaults have been serious. Christopher Mellon sustained injuries to his head, arms, hands and back. Three fingers of his left hand were amputated and one finger of his right hand was partially amputated. His left wrist was partially amputated. He suffered a cut through the skull exposing his brain. By virtue of operative treatment lasting 17 hours, it has proved possible to reattach his amputated fingers and to repair his left wrist but these injuries have resulted in scarring and significant loss of function in both hands. He has difficulty in dressing and carrying out everyday tasks. He has lost the ability to write. There is a question over his fitness for employment. As well as these purely physical consequences of his injuries, he reports emotional and psychological consequences including being constantly on edge and fearful.

Donna Galloway sustained cuts to the back of her head and her upper back, requiring stitches. She has permanent scarring. The child sustained cuts over his head and back. In her victim statement Donna Galloway also reports adverse emotional and psychological consequences both for her and the child, as well as its sibling.

I have considered what has been said on your behalf by Mr McElroy and Mr Keegan, including the fact that you are each the father of young children and that you would wish to be involved in their upbringing. I have also had regard to what appears in the Criminal Justice Social Work Reports prepared in respect of each of you.

I have no alternative but to impose custodial sentences. In determining what their length is I have taken into account all the material which has been put before me, but the most important is the extremely serious nature of charge (1) and the very serious nature of charges (2) and (3). In so saying what I have in mind is that –

These assaults involved a premeditated attack by three attackers armed with machetes and knives with murderous intent or at least wicked recklessness as to whether Mr Mellon lived or died

It involved the forced entry of a private home and the attack with weapons on those present, one of whom was a three-year-old child

It involved very significant and permanent physical injuries to Mr Mellon and physical and psychological injury to the other two victims

I have noted that you Mr Brooks have eight previous convictions whereas you Mr McIntyre have only one and that a minor one. However, I am not satisfied that that is a basis for distinguishing between you when it comes to sentence, given the nature of the offences of which you have been convicted.

In respect of you Mr Brooks the sentence of the court is a cumulo sentence in respect of all three charges of 12 years imprisonment

In respect of you Mr McIntyre the sentence of the court is a cumulo sentence in respect of all three charges of 12 years imprisonment

Both sentences will be back-dated to the respective dates when you were first remanded in custody."