Masked man used pepper spray on nightclub staff

Christopher Darling leaves Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Christopher Darling leaves Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A MASKED man blasted a woman and two bouncers with a substance believed to be pepper spray after being refused entry to a nightclub.

Christopher Darling left the trio choking on the fumes with tears streaming down their faces.

He launched the attack after turning up ten minutes after the 1am cut-off time to get into Envy night club in Bathgate.

Door stewards Aziz Elourraq and Sean Young told Darling they couldn’t let him in and that he was banned from the premises for causing earlier trouble.

Aiden Higgins, prosecuting, told Livingston Sheriff Court that the accused became “aggressive and upset”, but was persuaded to return to a friend’s car.

However, Darling then made towards them wearing a white mask before pulling a canister from his trousers and spraying the substance.

Mr Higgins said: “He made his way towards the door of the club and racially abused Elourraq

“Then he produced a canister from his trousers and started spraying the substance at Elourraq, which also caught Sean Young and Amanda Murray [a nightclub customer]. Almost immediately they felt stinging and itching about their eyes and a sore, irritated throat.”

Mr Higgins said Darling got back into the car and ordered his friend to drive off following the attack on September 14 last year.

Darling was then dropped at his girlfriend’s house, where he changed into a “onesie” before telling her: “I’m going to jail.”

Police found him in possession of 58 grammes of the class B drug cannabis, valued at £600.

Darling, a prisoner at Addiewell, appeared for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to racially aggravated assault with a noxious substance and drug possession.

Darryl Lovie, defending, claimed Darling had not brought the mask for a robbery and had taken the pepper spray from one of the bouncers.

He said his client had already spent the equivalent of a seven-and-a-half-month prison sentence on remand.

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told Darling: “I think it’s unlikely that one of the stewards had this can of spray as you claim, so I think it’s likely it was you who had it. The fact remains it must have been a very unpleasant experience for the people you sprayed, especially the woman bystander who was there to enjoy herself.”

He added: “This was an act of utmost foolishness by you rather than an act of real wickedness and I don’t think a prison sentence would be excessive or unjustified.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that a better way of protecting the public is to impose a community sentence.”

He put Darling on supervision with compulsory drug treatment order for a year and ordered him to be electronically tagged on a 7pm to 7am curfew for 100 days.