A THUG who brutally assaulted a teenager who tried to help him has been spared a longer jail term after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Good Samaritan Angus Gallacher was walking home on October 26 after a night out with friends in Gorebridge when he saw Brian Ramsay lying on his back in a petrol station forecourt at Newtonloan Toll.
The 18-year-old helped Ramsay to his feet, took him to the shop to get some food and helped him cross the road when Ramsay suddenly turned on him, subjecting him to a brutal and sustained assault in the street before dragging him to a nearby house in St Andrews Way, where he attacked him again. Prosecutors decided to appeal the 18-month jail sentence imposed on Ramsay, 24, by Sheriff Gordon Liddle at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after he admitted assaulting his victim.
But judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday rejected the Crown bid to extend his original sentence, which Angus’ parents Amanda, 53, and Henry, 56, had branded “disgusting” for its leniency.
Advocate depute Ashley Edwards argued that the sheriff had failed to give sufficient weight to the seriousness of the offence and protection of the public.
But the court also heard that Ramsay had been diagnosed with PTSD as he himself had been the victim of an assault. This left him hyper-vigilant and feeling threatened.
A social worker had also prepared a report indicating that Ramsay had “considerable insight and empathy for the victim”.
Lord Eassie, who heard the appeal with Lady Smith and Lord Brodie, said: “Having considered all that was put before us we have come to the view that the sentence was not unduly lenient and therefore refuse the appeal brought by the Crown.”
Lord Eassie said the assault committed by Ramsay was clearly a serious one and the sheriff had recognised it was unprovoked, severe and prolonged but other important factors had been taken into account.
Defence solicitor advocate John Keenan said: “This was not an unduly lenient sentence. It might on one view be regarded as a relatively lenient disposal.”
He argued that although it was a very serious assault with significant aggravations, Ramsay had shown “significant remorse, and shame, and regret” for his actions.
Mr Gallacher, from Newtongrange, suffered 13 fractures to his head, three broken fingers, fractured ribs and a damaged eardrum during the attack. He also suffered such severe damage to his right eye that he had to have a metal plate inserted above it.
The teenager told the Evening News previously that the attack has also left him scared to go out alone at night.
He said: “It has changed everything.
“It would definitely make me think twice about helping somebody now.”