"Have a Go Hero" jailed.
Jail for fed-up father who drove his van at armed thug in a fit of rage - Scotsman.com News
A FATHER was jailed for three years and eight months yesterday after he "lost it" and drove a van at a knife-wielding thug.
A court heard 47-year-old Stephen Armstrong's life had been made a misery by vandals, and he was terrified when the drunk confronted him with a knife and a baton. He believed it was connected with the painting of gang slogans on a fence near his home.
He drove on to a pavement and hit the 22-year-old, who was seriously injured and spent six weeks in hospital.
A judge was urged to show mercy to Armstrong, a father of eight who had stopped working to care for his ill wife, and Lady Smith said she accepted there had been "serious provocation". But she went on: "However angry you were and however justified your anger, what you did was certainly not justified at all.
"You quite deliberately used your van as a weapon…
Yes and he should have reversed back over him again, several times.
It was only six months ago that Gordon Brown was praising another Scot who took the law into his own hands and gave a terrorising scumbag a good banjoing. And now we have a decent man jailed for nearly four years ...
Armstrong, lived in a respectable residential area where people took a real interest in their families and property.
Unfortunately, steps at the bottom of the cul-de-sac had become a meeting point for "all sorts of ne'er-do-wells, hooligans, drug-takers and drunkards" from other areas. Mr Smyth said these people, mainly boys, had made life a misery for the residents, and there had been dozens of reports to the police about antisocial behaviour.
On 11 April, Armstrong learned that 6ft-high slogans, including "Welcome to Hell", had been painted on a fence, and he caught two boys, one of whom he knew. He went to that boy's father, and the father immediately ordered the boys to paint over the graffiti.
"We have an individual trying to deal with the vandalism and he does so in a perfectly sensible and civil manner. There's no bullying, ranting or raving. On the contrary, he seeks the assistance of the father of one of the boys," Mr Smyth said.
"It is quite clear that anyone in that situation is facing a risk…of violence, repercussions, retaliation and so forth."
The following evening, Armstrong was about to go shopping in his van when he saw the second boy with the 22-year-old man in his street. He heard a bang on his van. He got out to remonstrate, and the man took out a knife and an extendable baton from the back of his trousers and swung them at Armstrong.
Mr Smyth said it had been a reasonable inference that the pair, one of the vandals from the day before and somebody armed with lethal weapons, were there to cause trouble.
He said: "He was shocked and terrified. (The man] smashed a window of the van and moved off. The accused was shaking with nerves. He got into the van. He indicates he lost it for that moment…fear, rage, shock, all produced this momentary act of recklessness. This is a very human reaction to an event about which he had not the slightest warning. He was going about his lawful business. He did not seek trouble."
Lady Smith said the victim had suffered a broken leg and collar bone and a punctured lung, and had been
She told Armstrong: "In the cold light of day, you realise the appalling nature of what you did and you have shown genuine remorse. I take account of the extent of the provocation…there seems no doubt he presented weapons at you and he deliberately broke the window in your van. You were entitled to be angry and affronted, but not entitled to respond by wielding your van as a weapon at him. You were not entitled to subject him to this terrible assault."
Mrs Armstrong last night questioned how the family would cope with her husband behind bars.
She said: "I have really bad arthritis and so Stephen takes care of everything – all the bills, the kids, taking them to and from school and to their football.
"He gave up his job – he had been an electrician and a publican – when my arthritis got really bad. He's just a great guy, and it's just not fair."