‘Parking war’ led to attack on Bellshill pensioner

Hamilton Sheriff Court
Hamilton Sheriff Court

Car wars have broken out over parking in a Bellshill street, a court has heard.

The bad blood led to a pensioner being battered with a hammer and facing a bill of more than £2,000 after his house windows were smashed.

Michael Foley, 33, of Greenend View, Bellshill, landed in the dock at Hamilton Sheriff Court. He admitted assaulting 68-year-old John Andrews with a hammer at the OAP’s home in Bankhead Avenue, Bellshill, on June 23 last year. Foley also admitted damaging windows at the pensioner’s house.

The court heard Mr Andrews was at home with his wife, Anne, also 68, when the attack took place. He suffered bruising to his forearm as a result of the hammer blows.

Foley’s lawyer, Alan Murray, said it appeared the trouble all started when his client’s wife left her car outside a friend’s house in Bankhead Avenue, unaware of an ongoing dispute over parking spaces in the street. This led to an angry Mr Andrews allegedly confronting Mrs Foley while holding a sledgehammer.

Mr Murray explained: “She had unwittingly walked into a car parking war which seems to be endemic in that street. She knew nothing about it, but it seems cars have been getting covered in oil and paintstripper.

“So this is the catalyst for the incident involving her husband. She phoned him. He was in the area in his works van and went to Bankhead Avenue in the belief that Mr Andrews was in possession of a hammer while threatening his wife. Clearly he entered this man’s garden in hot blood and behaved in this way.

“It’s fortuitous that the man’s injuries were not too bad. My client accepts his guilt and the difficulties that actions such as these can impose on the community.”

The solicitor said Foley, who is married with a child, had matured since his last conviction in 2005 and now runs a successful business.

Mr Murray said: “There might be underlying anger management issues and perhaps these could be dealt with as part of a community-based order.”

The court heard it cost the pensioner £2,282 to replace the damaged windows, but his insurance company provided only £1,250 so he was out of pocket by more than £1,000.

Sheriff David Bicket ordered Foley to pay Mr Andrews the balance of £1,032 and another £1,000 in compensation for his injuries, plus £1,250 to the insurers.

He was told to make payment at £200 per month and also to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work within 12 months.

Foley will be under supervision for 18 months and must attend anger management courses as directed.

Sheriff Bicket said: “It’s on a margin – just – that I’m not imposing a custodial sentence.”