‘Glasgow war zone’: Gangland six jailed for murder plot

The men were said to be part of the Lyons crime gang - enemies of the Daniel clan in Glasgow.

 Peter Bain and Andrew Gallacher. <strong>Police Scotland</strong>
Peter Bain and Andrew Gallacher. Police Scotland

Six men have been jailed for a total of 104 years after trying to kill their gangland rivals.

Brian Ferguson, 37, Andrew Gallacher, 40, Robert Pickett, 54, John Hardie, 35, Andrew Sinclair, 32, and Peter Bain, 45, were convicted of conspiracy to murder last month following a 14-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The men were said to be part of the Lyons crime gang – long-time enemies of the Daniel clan in the north of the city.

Sentencing them on Monday as armed police patrolled the court building, judge Lord Mulholland told them there was no place in Scotland for the “law of the jungle”.

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A wave of violence erupted in December 2016, escalating after the shooting of Ross Monaghan – once cleared of murdering Daniel enforcer Kevin ‘Gerbil’ Carroll.

Five men were ambushed in a series of murder bids over a 15-month period.

A main target was ex-taxi firm boss Steven “Bonzo” Daniel – nephew of late crimelord Jamie Daniel. Bonzo suffered serious facial wounds after an attack close to the M8 in May 2017.

Supermarket worker Ryan Fitzsimmons was one of the other four targeted. The 34-year-old is the brother of ex-army veteran turned gun-runner Martyn Fitzsimmons.

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He ended up brain damaged – selected as apparent revenge shortly after his sibling was held for shooting Monaghan in April 2017.

Lord Mulholland told the six men: “Steven Daniel gave evidence and said that he was not aware of a feud between the Lyons and Daniel families.

“I did not believe a word and, more importantly, neither did the jury.” 

The judge described the murder plot as “sophisticated” involving high-tech tracker devices and encrypted mobile phones.

20 years: John Hardie and Brian Ferguson. Police Scotland

But, he added the gang were undone by “good old-fashioned detective work”.

Lord Mulholland then told them: “You sought to turn Glasgow into a war zone with your feud.

“This is a civilised country based on the rule of law. There is no place for this type of conduct, retribution or the law of the jungle.”

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Some of the six appeared not to be put out by the lengthy jail terms as they returned to the cells.

Gallacher made a clenched-fist gesture as he headed downstairs, Ferguson appeared to salute supporters in court and Bain grinned and gave a thumbs up.

The attacks occurred amid a reported long-running tit-for-tat feud between the Lyons and Daniel clans.

Steven Daniel, a central figure in his family, was attacked in the early hours of May 18, 2017 having been at a Rangers v Aberdeen match at Ibrox the previous night.

A tracker was stuck on his Skoda Octavia allowing the gang to trace him from the ground eventually to Milton. The device was “the first type of its kind” used in Scotland obtained from a surveillance firm in Manchester.

A Volkswagen Golf deliberately bashed into the 39-year-old’s vehicle and an Audi S3 then rolled up as Daniel went at “breakneck” speed to get away.

He estimated “doing about 100mph” as he was chased towards the M8 and planned to go down the wrong side of the motorway to escape.

But his Skoda was again ploughed into at the M8 on-ramp at Port Dundas.

Daniel said during evidence: “It was presumably the Audi … then I just passed out. I (remember) skidding towards a pole at the foot of the road.”

Daniel claimed he could not remember being attacked, but prosecutors stated he was struck with a cleaver, hammer and other bladed weapons.

He remained in hospital for several weeks to try and repair massive wounds to his face.

Lord Mulholland said it was “extremely fortunate” the attack happened near to the city’s Royal Infirmary with Daniel being helped by a “world-class” surgeon.

Prosecutor Paul Mr Kearney asked him during the trial: “The Daniel family are alleged to be a serious organised crime group.”

Daniel replied: “Allegedly.”

Daniel insisted he had no enemies before the attack – and said there was no “dispute” with the Lyons.

A crucial prosecution witness was Alistair McMillan, a former Elgin City footballer and associate of Daniel who told jurors he was offered £50,000 to help in the “murder” of the ex-taxi firm director.

Ryan Fitzsimmons, was ambushed outside his family home in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire on April 28, 2017.

Lord Mulholland said he was a “hard-working man” living quietly with his mum.

His brother Martyn had just been held for trying to kill Ross Monaghan months earlier, but the former solider – jailed for ten years for his role in a crime gang in 2018 – was eventually cleared of shooting Monaghan

Ryan Fitzsimmons was heading to work when up to five masked attackers jumped out a car and attacked him with a sword.

He told the court: “I can remember vividly as if it (the weapon) was getting stuck in my head and that it was an effort to get it out.

“It was as if they were trying to chop the top of my head off. It felt like death was coming.”

The supermarket worker had been a keen runner and was training for the London Marathon, but is no longer able to live on his own.

He said he had no enemies and had “never been involved in crime”.

Andrew Sinclair was said to have boasted that he had “done a c***” days after Ryan was hurt.

The first target had been Robert Daniel – previously jailed for helping attack a gran outside a pub in 2012.

The 29-year-old was chased into a house in Robroyston where a child was after his car was rammed. He was then struck with a hatchet or a machete.

Daniel told the trial: “I thought I was getting mugged for my car.”

Thomas Bilsland, 31, and Gary Petty, 22, were the remaining two attacked. Bilsland suffered a fractured skull after being attacked with a hatchet outside his mum’s home in Cranhill in January 2017.

Petty was targeted two months later in Maryhill after leaving an Italian restaurant.

The six face a further hearing later in the year after prosecutors moved for serious crime prevention orders to be slapped on them.


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