Van driver jailed after pinning man against wall with vehicle

Sean McGartland broke Liam Reid's leg after driving a van at him over an alleged debt.

A van driver who drove at a man over an alleged debt, pinning him to a wall and breaking his leg has been jailed for five years.

Sean McGartland, 32, was caught because he left his driving licence in the vehicle.

At the High Court in Glasgow judge Lord Mulholland told McGartland: “Your actions that day were cowardly and despicable. You used a van as a weapon. It is no excuse you believed he owed you money,

“Your victim was badly injured. He had a broken leg and had to have a pin put in his leg. It is fortunate he wasn’t more seriously injured.”

It is believed that the alleged debt amounted to several thousand pounds.

Dad-of-three Sean McGartland, of Greenock, who appeared via a video link from prison, admitted assaulting Liam Reid to the danger of his life by driving at him with a Ford Transit van and pinning him against a wall.

The offence took place at Murdieston Street, Greenock, on August 27, last year.

McGartland was originally charged with attempting to murder Mr Reid, but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to the reduced charge of assault to danger of life.

Defence counsel John McElroy, representing McGartland said: “He is a self employed working man – a roughcaster – who lost money.

“He tried to get hold of the complainer on Facebook and other social media. He saw him and the red mist descended. It wasn’t thought out. He saw someone he thought had taken advantage.”

McGartland wrote a letter to Lord Mulholland in which he said he was remorseful for what he had done.

Prosecutor Kath Harper said: “At the time the accused was on bail from the Justice of Peace Court in respect of alleged road traffic offences.”

The court heard that at 6pm Mr Reid was walking in Murdieston Street and saw the accused driving along in a van.

McGartland began to shout aggressively about money he claimed Mr Reid owed him.

Ms Harper said: “The complainer turned and began running down the street away from the van.

“The van caught up with Mr Reid as he tried to climb over a garden wall. The accused drove the van at him, pinning him against the wall. 

“At this point the accused leaned out of the window and repeatedly punched Mr Reid and demanded to know the whereabouts of the money he claimed was owed to him.”

McGartland then reversed the van slightly before driving at Mr Reid and striking him again.

Mr Reid was screaming in pain and shouting that his leg was broken.

The van was found in Gabriel Street, Greenock the next day. Police officers who searched it found McGartland’s driving licence. One of the prints taken from the van matched that of the accused.

The owner of the van confirmed that McGartland had borrowed it two days earlier.

A search of McGartland’s home revealed the hi-vis vest he was wearing during the offence.

Mr Reid was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital and had to undergo surgery to repair his right leg. A pin had to be inserted in the bone.

McGartland has previous convictions for violence, disorder, drugs and road traffic matters.

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