‘Elephant Man’ attack trio jailed for 20 years

Alexander Ormiston was beaten 'black and blue' in the attack.
Alexander Ormiston was beaten 'black and blue' in the attack.
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THREE men convicted of an attack which left a businessman looking like the Elephant Man have been jailed for a total of almost 20 years.

Alexander Ormiston, 63, who owned a haulage company at Leith docks, died in hospital two weeks after being beaten “black and blue” over an alleged £80,000 debt.

Brian Kennedy, 31, Paul Breslin, 41, and Ian Oliver, 26, were found guilty of assaulting Mr Ormiston at his home in Rosyth, Fife, on May 19, 2011.

The trio abducted Mr Ormiston from his home and forced him to withdraw £5000 from a Bank of Scotland branch in Leith.

At the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, judge Lord Pentland jailed Kennedy for five years and six months, Breslin for six years and Oliver for eight years.

Passing sentence, he said: “You have been convicted of a concerted, cowardly and violent attack on an elderly and vulnerable gentleman in his own home.

“You then abducted him from it and robbed him of £5000. This appears to have been to enforce and collect a debt which he allegedly owed to you, Kennedy. You were pursing an action in the civil courts, but you decided to take matters into your own hands.

“The only thing to distinguish you from one another is your criminal records.”

Kennedy, of Glenrothes, Fife, Breslin, of Carberry Court, Musselburgh, and Oliver – a prisoner of HMP Shotts – had faced charges of culpable homicide during a trial held at the High Court in Edinburgh.

However, the jury decided there was not enough evidence to convict the men of killing Mr Ormiston and instead found them guilty of abducting and assaulting the victim to his severe injury.

Mr Ormiston died two weeks after the attack, the court heard.

The jury heard that the victim, who owned haulage company Ormiston Transport, was locked in a legal dispute with Kennedy, another haulier, who was suing him for £80,000.

However, Kennedy took the law into his own hands and decided to attack his rival in a bid to retrieve the cash.

Days after the assault, Mr Ormiston’s employee, mechanic Brian Burns, told the trial that his employer looked like the Elephant Man, the disfigured 19th century “human curiosity”.

The 41-year-old said Mr Ormiston’s face was all “black and blue” when he arrived for work.

Mr Ormiston’s son-in-law, Craig Wright, 37, said he visited his father-in-law’s home and found him lying semi-conscious in his bedroom.

The court heard that Mr Ormiston did not seek medical attention following the assault, and died from a slow bleed on the brain.

Defence counsel for Kennedy and Oliver told the court yesterday they continued to deny being involved in the attack.

Oliver was jailed for six years in June 2007 for dealing drugs and hamesucken – the Scots law expression used to describe the situation when somebody breaks into a house. He was on license from prison when he took part in the attack on Mr Ormiston.