East Lothian rampage yob attacked man, smashed pub and targeted cars

A violent yob who went on the rampage through a quiet East Lothian town has been jailed for more than two years.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 4:19 pm

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James McQueen left a man covered in blood following an unprovoked attack with a metal pole in North Berwick, East Lothian, earlier this year.

The thug then kicked the man’s front door down and brandished the metal weapon at his wife in an attack a sheriff described as “truly terrifying experience for her”.

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McQueen at the height of his rampage

McQueen, 36, also smashed three windows at a pub in the town with a wooden plank before going on to break windows and windscreens of three parked cars during the early morning spree.

And when he was eventually tracked down by police McQueen poured a tin of paint over a police vehicle and coughed and spat at the officers while claiming he had Covid-19.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the violent vandalism attacks started in the early hours of March 21 this year when McQueen assaulted a woman at a home in the town by striking her to the face.

He then fled the house and drove off in his Vauxhall Astra despite having no licence or insurance for the vehicle.

Fiscal depute Jennifer McLaren said McQueen, c/o HMP Edinburgh, then spotted Keith Wise getting in to his car at the town’s Beach Road as he was heading to work.

McQueen stopped his vehicle and aggressively approached Mr Wise shouting “what the f*** are you looking at?”.

McQueen then pulled out a black eight inch metal pole and struck Mr Wise twice to the head causing blood to pour from a two inch laceration to his scalp.

Mr Wise shouted at his wife to lock the front door and call the police but the thug booted the door open and aggressively confronted the woman with the weapon.

McQueen again fled after being told police had been called and he was next seen walking along the town’s Forth Street where he proceeded to smash three windows at the Auld Hoose pub.

Ms McLaren told the court the pub windows would cost between £3000 and £3750 to replace.

The fiscal also said McQueen had smashed three car windows during his vandalism rampage.

Police eventually caught up with him at the town’s Lochbridge Road where he got out of his car and poured a tin of paint over the police vehicle.

Officers attempted to arrest McQueen and he punched one PC to the face who had to be taken to hospital for an x-ray to his jaw.

He was also said to have assaulted another officer by coughing and spitting at him and claiming to have Covid 19.

McQueen was then taken to St Leonard’s police station where continued his violent behaviour by refusing to give a breath or blood sample and cough and spit at officers.

He appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court via video link from Saughton Prison and pleaded guilty to all 13 charges.

Solicitor Liam Kildare, defending, said his client “expressed his remorse” for the incidents and had since “shown insight into his behaviour”.

But during the lawyer’s mitigation McQueen was heard to shout out “I never spat at him - he’s a f*****g lying bastard” when reference to the police assault was made.

Sheriff Robert Fife said: “In his measured plea of mitigation Mr Kildare highlighted the accused recognised how the assault on Mr Wise but must have been very frightening for him

“But he made no mention of the ordeal of Mrs Wise which must have been a truly terrifying experience for her.

“The accused kicking down her door and brandishing a metal implement towards her. The long term effects of that are unknown.”

The sheriff said McQueen had recently served two periods of custody for assault and robbery and added on this occasion he could see “no alternative to imprisonment”.

McQueen was jailed for 28 months and was a handed a 14 month driving ban.

He admitted 13 offences in various locations in North Berwick and Edinburgh on March 21 this year.

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