Youths forced boy to jump over cliff
VISITORS at a beauty spot near Glasgow watched helplessly as three boys forced a terrified schoolboy to fall 25ft over a cliff and then cheered as their victim plunged on to rocks below, a court heard yesterday.
Details of the ordeal inflicted on the boy were revealed at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, where the three accused admitted their parts in the assault.
The three teenagers had surrounded the schoolboy and hounded him off the cliff at a spot in the Campsie Fells, nicknamed "Paradise". After the boy fell, one of his pursuers pelted him with stones as he lay injured, his ankles shattered by the fall.
The boy’s ordeal happened on 18 April last year, the court heard.
Craig Garlinge, 18, Christopher McGowan, 17, both of Milton of Campsie, and Matthew Duncan, of Kirkintilloch, who was 15 at the time but is now 16, admitted surrounding the boy, striking him repeatedly on the head and body with golf clubs and a baton, and forcing him towards the edge of a cliff, which he fell over, all to his severe injury, danger of life and permanent impairment. In addition, Duncan admitted throwing stones at the boy. For legal reasons, their victim cannot be identified.
Drew McKenzie, prosecuting, told the court that the three youths were among a group of boys who boarded a bus at Lennoxtown on Good Friday for a day out at the waterfall beauty spot in the Campsie Fells.
Two of the accused were carrying golf clubs and the third was holding a baton. The schoolboy victim had gone to the same spot with two friends, the court heard.
His ordeal began when he was chased down steps to a flat area below a waterfall from where there was a 25ft drop on to rocks. The three boys then repeatedly struck the boy with golf clubs and the baton.
"The three formed a pincer movement round him, with Garlinge directly in front and McGowan and Duncan at either side. They continued to strike him and forced him backwards towards the waterfall, the boy continually begging them to stop," said Mr McKenzie.
"It must have been obvious to the accused that they were forcing him back into the position where he had nowhere else to go.
"Nonetheless, they continued with the assault and the boy fell off the cliff to the rocks below.
"Witnesses heard them cheering as he fell to the bottom and as they were cheering, Duncan threw stones at him after he had landed. They then ran away."
Mr McKenzie said the incident was witnessed by several people. He added: "They described sitting there horrified at what they viewed.
"They initially thought the boy was dead, but then they heard him crying for help, and, using their mobile phones, were able to contact the police and ambulance service."
Mr McKenzie told how, ambulancemen clambered down the cliff to assist the boy, but because it was going to be too difficult for them to retrieve him, contacted the fire brigade. "Officers had to physically hoist him, back up the cliff to the top."
The victim was in hospital for ten days after an operation to put pins and a plate into his shattered ankles.
He was then in plaster for two and a half months and now walks with a permanent limp. He could give the judge, Ian Simpson, no explanation as to the motive for the attack.
The three accused were traced by police over the remainder of the Easter weekend and all admitted their parts in the incident.
Lawyers defending all three claimed the incident began when the victim and another youth became involved in a confrontation and they joined in. Duncan claimed he thought he had been struck with a golf club by the boy and had also been punched in the mouth by him.
The judge called for reports on all three boys, who are first offenders, and continued the case for sentencing later this month.
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