Gunmen who killed dog and wounded walker in botched murder bid jailed

Henry the maltichon died when Reece Govan and Bran Gallacher attempted to kill a man in Cumbernauld.

Gunmen who killed dog and wounded woman in botched attempted murder bid jailed

Two men who mounted a murder attempt which left an innocent dog-walking passer by shot and her pet killed have been jailed for a total of 14 years.

Reece Govan, 27, and convicted killer Bran Gallacher, 26, chased a man through a quiet housing development in Dullatur in Cumbernauld.

Govan shot their intended target, Marc McDermott, in the back with a shotgun, while Gallacher lashed out with a machete, striking McDermott, 31, on the shoulder with it.

Despite being wounded, Mr McDermott continued to try to escape, sprinting down a lane while his father, clutching a hockey stick, also went out to try and help his son.

Govan then fired at Mr McDermott again, but, as he struggled with the weapon, he caught dog walker Michelle Butler and her maltichon Henry in the crossfire.

Henry died after being struck by 25 shotgun pellets, suffering “catastrophic” organ damage, while Ms Butler sustained a hand injury.

Mr McDermott also survived the attack, but suffered a wound to his back for which he needed hospital treatment.

The attackers fled in a Ford Focus while Mr McDermott was helped by his parents and taken to hospital.

Govan and Gallacher appeared for sentence at the High Court in Stirling after pleading pleaded guilty last month to attempting to murder Mr McDermott.

Govan also admitted two charges of culpably and recklessly discharging a firearm in connection with Ms Butler being struck and Henry being killed.

Judge Lord Colbeck said they had shown “shocking, wanton criminality”.

He said: “In the circumstances narrated to the court, the offence to which you both pled guilty is an extremely serious one involving the use of weapons against not only the victim of the attempted murder but also impacting upon an unsuspecting member of the public.”

He jailed Govan for eight years and Gallacher for six years and three months.

Both were made subject to a three year extension sentence, to be served in the community, and during which they can be recalled to prison if they re-offend.

Ms Butler told those later investigating the shooting: “Although I think he was aiming at the guy who was on my side, it came left and was aiming more to where I was with Henry.

“Then I heard another bang, similar to the one seconds before. I also saw an orange spark coming from either the end or the middle of what I had thought was a pool cue.”

After hearing Henry squeal, Ms Butler scooped up her pet, and ran off distressed before being helped by a passing driver.

Brian McConnachie KC, for Govan, said his client had a fall out with Mr McDermott, in the course of which threats had been made against his grandmother, who had brought Govan up.

Tony Graham KC, for Gallacher, said his client had “taken drink” and was not the “planner or instigator” of the incident.

Gallacher was jailed in 2015 for ten years for culpable homicide. He was involved in the killing of young dad Stephen McGinlay in a busy street in Glasgow’s St George’s Cross area in 2014.

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