Pair jailed for assault but cleared of abduction

Jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court were shown stabbing footage.
Jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court were shown stabbing footage.

Two men have been handed prison sentences for assault - but were cleared of tying up and abducting the victim.

Hugh Langford (34), of Dalziel Tower, Motherwell, was jailed for 18 months at Hamilton Sheriff Court today. Former army sniper Kenneth Mason (44), of Birkshaw Brae, Gowkthrapple, who also admitted possession of a knife, got 19 months.

They admitted assaulting William Smith at Mason’s home in April 2014. Mason admitted having a knife outside a flat in Grange Tower, Motherwell, a few days later.

The pair, along with Mary Langford (31), also of Birkshaw Brae, were originally charged with abducting Mr Smith. It was alleged they bound his hands and feet with cable ties, put tape over his mouth and threatened to take him away in a car. However, all three had their not guilty pleas accepted.

The court heard Mason punched and kicked Mr Smith, causing him to fall, then kicked him on the chest, causing bruising.

Langford picked up a homemade weapon - a piece of piping with a weight on the end - and struck Mr Smith on the head. This caused a cut which was treated with staples and has left a scar at the hairline.

Elspeth Forrest, defending Langford, said her client ‘did what he did’ but then he and Mary Langford helped the victim.

She told the court: “They bandaged him up and CCTV shows them helping him out of the house to his own home.

“Hugh Langford has a background of drug and alcohol abuse, but since this offence he seems to have kept himself out of trouble.”

Defence agent Diarmid Bruce said the assault happened after Mason had given Mr Smith a loan of £80 which his pal refused to pay back.

Turning to the knife offence, Mr Bruce said that earlier that day Mason had been using the blade to skin rabbits he had shot.

Mr Bruce added: “My client served in the Scots Guards. He was a sniper who was held in high regard, but he has suffered psychological problems, put down to the horrors of war.

“His life has disintegrated and he struggles to cope.”

Passing sentence, Sheriff Ray Small noted Langford had eight previous convictions for assault, but the current offence involving a customised weapon “takes matters to a new level”.

The sheriff added: “A background report says you are at high risk of further offending.”

Sheriff Small said Mason had previous convictions for weapons charges and “knew carrying a knife was a crime”.

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