A disqualified driver who deliberately mowed down a teenager with a Transit van has been convicted of murder.
Dean Wright, 32, drove at excessive speed – while high on alcohol and cocaine – and hit Liam Hendry close to Celtic Park on September 29, 2019, causing him to smash onto the windscreen and suffer horrific head injuries.
Jurors at the High Court in Glasgow heard how 18-year-old Celtic fan Liam was standing watching as two rival groups from Glasgow’s Barrowfield clashed at around 6am that morning.
Wright jumped in his van, drove into Barrowfield Street at speed before swerving and ploughing into Liam, from Barrowfield, who was standing close to the pavement. He was thrown into the air by the impact and smashed into the van’s windscreen.
Friends and other residents rushed to the dying teenager’s aid. At this point, the van did a U-turn and drove at Jacqueline Foy, Daniel Ewing, Laura Ewing and Brandon McAuley who were trying to help Liam.
Wright was convicted of attempted murder for driving at them.
Brother Marc, surrounded by mum Margaret, dad William and brother Paul, paid tribute to Liam outside court.
Marc said: “Liam was an innocent young boy deliberately targeted by an evil coward who had no idea who he was.
“There is no sentence long enough for the wicked evil act that human inflicted on our beautiful loving son and brother.
“We are the ones with the life sentence, the heartbreak he has inflicted on us has been devastating throughout the whole family and his many friends.
“There really are no words to describe our lives now without Liam being a part of it.
“All our love Liam we are proud of you as a son and brother and we are privileged to have been your parents – thank you.”
During sentencing, judge Lord Arthurson told Wright: “You inflicted on Liam Hendry catastrophic and unsurvivable head injuries. This was a deliberate, unprovoked and murderous attack.”
Lord Arthurson told Wright the only sentence for murder was life imprisonment.
He deferred sentence on Wright until next month when he will determine how long Wright must spend behind bars before being eligible for parole.
The judge praised the quiet dignity of Liam’s family, who were in court every day of the trial.
Prosecutor Liam Ewing said: “The accused intentionally drove at Liam Hendry who was standing there. The accused came along looking for a target. Barrowfield Street is a dead end. There was no reason for that journey in the van other than a planned attack.”
A jury found Wright guilty of murdering Liam and attempting to murder Jacqueline Foy, Daniel Ewing, Laura Ewing and Brandon McAuley.
Wright’s co-accused Robert Farrell, 33, who was a passenger in the van, was cleared of murder and attempted murder.
Liam’s family were in court to see his killer convicted.
The court heard that Liam was at the home of his friend Daniel Ewing in Barrowfield on the night of the attack.
Daniel, 19, recalled going outside with friends to see two gangs chasing each other – but Liam, who was not interested in ‘territories or groups’ initially stayed indoors.
But, as Daniel went to return home, he spotted Liam across the street.
Daniel said: “The van swerved right to where Liam was. I shouted, but, unfortunately, it was too late.
“It hit Liam and sent him up into the air. I was then with Liam the full time.
“I had him in my lap and there was a woman trying to give him CPR.
“I was begging that he was not dead, but I just knew.”
Daniel said the van made a U-turn and came back towards them and he saw Wright was driving.
Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the incident including the desperate attempts to save the teenager in the street.
The court heard Wright has previous convictions for offensive weapons, road traffic matters and dishonesty.
Celtic fans paid tribute to Liam by clapping for the entire 18th minute during a Europa League match against Cluj at Parkhead days after the murder.