Motorist tried to murder 6 children in hit and run

A man tried to kill six children in a horrific hit and run after they innocently got caught up in a bitter feud.

Gerald Gavan. Picture: Police Scotland
Gerald Gavan. Picture: Police Scotland

Gerald Gavan ploughed into the youngsters having initially drove at his target Billy McGregor in Glasgow’s Castlemilk.

Gavan and McGregor have links to opposing sides connected to the murder of Jamie Lee in the area in July 2017.

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A judge today watched graphic footage of the children being hurtled into the air as the 22 year-old hit both them and McGregor.

Castlemilk in Glasgow. Picture: Googlemaps
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One 14 year-old girl – who Gavan also reversed over - suffered a broken neck and required lengthy surgery.

Gavan is now behind bars after he pled guilty to attempting to murder the six youngsters on March 24 this year.

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The carpet salesman, of East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, also admitted trying to kill McGregor in the same incident.

He was remanded in custody at the High Court in Glasgow pending sentencing next month.

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Prosecutor Maryam Labaki said the background to this crime was a “family feud” involving a “fatality”.

She added: “Gavan is associated with one side of that dispute.”

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Gavan’s former co-accused Gary Owen – who had not guilty pleas accepted – is a relative of Jordan Owen wanted in connection with the play park shooting of Jamie Lee.

The hit and run occurred after McGregor – also known as William Dearie – had gone to a local shop around 4pm.

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The children were meantime “talking and laughing together” in the same street.

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As McGregor crossed the road towards them, he clocked Gavan’s silver Vauxhall Astra heading at him.

Miss Labaki: “The car accelerated and steered towards Billy McGregor travelling diagonally and mounting the pavement.”

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He failed in trying to dodge the car – but Gavan then carried on into the children on the pavement.

The advocate depute added: “As the car collided with the group, six of them were struck causing them to be thrown up into the air in different directions.

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“Two of the children who had been sent flying were hit with such force that they were carried over a parked car landing on the ground opposite.”

CCTV of the incident was played to the packed court. Distressed relatives of the young victims sobbed. One woman left the courtroom in tears.

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A 14 year-old girl was unable to get up. Gavan then reversed over her before “leaving the scene at speed”.

The court heard he was unaware she was still on the ground.

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The teenager was found to have a badly broken neck and needed an initial six hour operation.

She later had a titanium plate attached to her spine to help her recovery.

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The girl was finally able to leave hospital around a fortnight after the incident.

The court heard her injury is “healing well”. Despite the horror, one senior medic stated it is hoped she will fortunately make a full recovery.

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A 13 year-old boy was meantime treated for a leg injury. A 14 year-old boy needed stitches for a knee wound.

A 13 year-old girl was badly bruised while a 12 year-old girl was treated at hospital for muscle injuries.

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Another 14 year-old girl went on to require physiotherapy.

McGregor had cuts to his arm and leg – as well as bruising – but “declined medical attention”.

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The court heard Gavan’s guilty plea was accepted on basis he had “intended to cause physical injury” to McGregor.

Miss Labaki: “In striking him with the vehicle – when immediately in front of the children – Gavan had no opportunity to break in time.

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“His actions amounted to wicked recklessness in respect of the children.”

Gary Owen (20) had also faced the attempted murder claims, but his not guilty pleas were accepted.

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Gavan, Owen along with Ali Coats and Jay Gavan – both 20 – had further faced a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the crime.

Not guilty pleas were also accepted for that allegation.

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Lady Scott deferred sentencing on Gavan until September 25 in Edinburgh.