Men jailed for Clydebank murder following family feud

A man and his uncle have been jailed for life for the brutal murder of a neighbour.

Gary Gorman, 25, stabbed dad-of-three Bernard Hagen -  known as Benny - six times and left him dying in the street. Part of the blade was embedded in Mr Hagen’s skull after the attack.

On Thursday, Gorman was caged for at least 15 years for the attack. His uncle, 44-year-old Michael Gorman, was armed with a knife and prevented anyone from coming to Mr Hagen's aid during the attack. He was also sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the killing in Fleming Avenue, Whitecrook, Clydebank on November 6 last year was the culmination of a long-running feud. It escalated after Gary Gorman's mother Ann Gorman took him and his brother Stephen – who is only 15-years-old - to the corner of Boyle Street and Fleming Avenue on July 6, 2002 armed with petrol to attack Mr Hagen's son, Sean Hagen.

The court heard that they turned Sean Hagen in a human fireball causing horrific burns to more than 24 per cent of his body. Although Sean Hagen was horrifically burned in 2002 it was only after the murder of his father that he told police that Gary Gorman, his brother Stephen and their mother Ann were responsible for the murder bid.

Up until then he claimed he didn't know who his attackers were because he didn't want to be a grass. Ann Gorman and her two sons were convicted of Sean Hagen's attempted murder and she and her son Stephen, 23, who is also known as Stephen Quill, were each jailed for seven years on Thursday.

Jailing the Gorman family for a total of 41 years, judge Lord Matthews told them: "There is a background in this case, but I make no judgment as to who caused the ill-feeling. Matters escalated after the incident in 2002 and further escalated in November last year when Bernard Hagen met his death.

"I hope, that while I can't bring Bernard Hagen back, this will bring an end to the troubles which have been plaguing Whitecrook. I accept that the Gorman family is going to be affected by this, but that pales into insignificance compared to the suffering of the Hagen family who have lost a loving father."

Defence QC Gordon Jackson, representing Gary Gorman, said that his client continued to insist he had been acting in self defence. Mr Jackson added: "He has always expressed remorse that the man died at his hands."

Ian Duguid QC, defending Michael Gorman, said: "He was convicted of murder despite never having been in physical contact with the deceased person. That is something of a rarity in these courts. His behaviour on that night was out of character."

During the earlier trial the court heard that in 2002 Ann Gorman drove her sons Gary and Stephen to find Sean Hagen and then watched as her sons threw a patrol bomb at him. The heat from the blaze was so intense that it melted the football top he was wearing.

Then on November 6, last year, Mr Hagen and some friends went round to Stephen Gorman's home hours after Mr Hagen's sister had all four tyres slashed on her car. James Harkin, 22, told the court he went with Mr Hagen and four others to smash Stephen Gorman's windows in Whitecrook, Clydebank, on November 6 last year.

He told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC that as soon as they threw missiles at the windows members of the Gorman family chased them.

He said: "Michael Gorman chased me and Gary Gorman disappeared. I was trying to get past Michael and help Benny. I couldn't get past him. He had a big knife."

Mr Harkin told the jury he also had a knife, but did nothing with it. He added: "I managed to get to the side of Michael and I saw Gary over Benny. Benny was lying on the ground on his back. He was shouting for help."

When asked by Mr Prentice: "What was Gary Gorman doing?" he replied: "Standing over him punching down on him."

Mr Prentice then asked: "Did he have anything in his hand?" and Mr Harkin replied: "A knife." Mr Harkin said he was then chased away from the scene by Gary and Michael Gorman.

Minutes later he returned to find Mr Hagen lying in Fleming Avenue covered in blood. Mr Harkin said: "I was trying to comfort him. He was rolling about the ground. He was in pain and he said he was dying."
 
 

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