Man jailed after reversing stolen car at mechanics in fuel payment row

Charlie Tunstall reversed the stolen vehicle at four workers at Bob's Mechanical Repairs, seriously injuring one.

Charlie Tunstall jailed after driving stolen car at mechanics in row over fuel payment in Perthshire STV News

A stolen car driver was jailed for nine years after trying to murder four men at a garage forecourt after learning that cash payments for fuel were not accepted.

Charlie Tunstall repeatedly reversed the VW Golf GTI at mechanics and struck one victim with the vehicle at the Perthshire premises.

A judge told Tunstall at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have been convicted of the attempted murder of four people. One of those persons was seriously injured and the injuries have had a long-lasting effect on him.”

Lord Mulholland said: “You used the vehicle as a weapon. Your conduct that day was despicable.”

The judge said that Tunstall, 25, was “no stranger to the courts” and warned that he would spend a substantial part of his adult life in prison if he did not mend his ways.

Lord Mulholland told him that he would begin serving the prison sentence for the murder bid at the expiry of an 81-month jail term he is currently serving, which was imposed on him in 2019 for conspiracy to rob in England.

Tunstall, from London, had denied attempting to murder Ewan Burt, Robert and Owen McMahon and Robert MacDonald on January 14 in 2019 at Bob’s Mechanical Repairs, at Perth Road, Birnam, but was convicted by a jury after a trial earlier this year.

Mr Burt was struck by the Golf driven by Tunstall and thrown backwards into the air and landed on concrete. He was left bleeding from head injuries and one of his colleagues said his eyes were rolled back and his tongue was hanging out. 

Robert McMahon, 42, said the vehicle had come into the premises and an enquiry was made about paying for fuel with cash. After Tunstall learnt that it was card payments only at the petrol pumps, which were a separate business, he became verbally abusive and then began reversing the car aggressively.

Jurors were shown footage of the car attack, which was captured on CCTV, during his trial.  

Mr McMahon said that after Mr Burt was struck by the vehicle there was a lot of blood. He said: “I thought he was seconds from death.”

The victim was treated for head wounds, which were stitched and sutured, but had no memory of the events that led to him being injured.

Tunstall was identified as the perpetrator of the attack by several witnesses.

The Golf was bearing false registration plates when it was used in the murder bid and was seen minutes later at a filling station in Perth with different fake plates.

The court heard that the car was stolen in the Enfield area of London in November 2018 and later recovered in Waltham Forest in the city in February 2019 with a dent on the boot lid.

Ronnie Renucci KC, for Tunstall, said that he continued to deny involvement in the attempted murder. He said: “It is his position that this case is a case of mistaken identity.”

The defence counsel said there was no planning involved in the offence and added: “This was not a case where people were going out looking for trouble.”

Mr Renucci that Tunstall had “an unfortunate background” and although it was not an excuse perhaps gave an indication as to how he came to be on the path his life has taken.

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