Shotgun thug jailed for chasing pair up Tranent road with gun in front of terrified drivers

A man who was filmed threatening violence and firing a shotgun has been jailed for 20 months.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:11 pm

Footage of Martin McGroary with the weapon was posted on a community Facebook page prompting members of the public to contact the police.

A judge was told that the following day the target of the abuse, Michael Stewart, was made aware of the online video.

The incident followed Mr Stewart's van colliding with a van containing McGroary, 21, and his younger brother Connor, 18.

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Footage of Martin McGroary with the weapon was posted on acommunity Facebook page prompting members of the public to contact the police.

The pair ran down a length of the A199 road near to the East Lothian recycling centre at Tranent with the gun leaving witnesses held up in stationary traffic terrified.

Mr Stewart and another man, who thought he was going to be shot, jumped over the back wall at the centre and made their escape through fields.

Lord Turnbull told Martin McGroary at the High Court in Edinburgh: "It must have been a frightening experience for all concerned."

The judge said that he had admitted serious conduct and that only a jail sentence was appropriate.

The brothers earlier admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause persons to believe that unlawful violence would be used against them on November 26 in 2018 at Dolphingstone, near Tranent, on the A199.

Video shared on Facebook

The older brother, formerly of Uphall Station Road, Pumpherston, in West Lothian, also admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing, uttering threats of violence, firing a gun and recording and posting footage on social media while acting with another. The video was posted on a Tranent community page on Facebook.

The court heard that a woman who was looking after her horses in a field at a farm near Longniddry heard a man shouting.

She saw two males and realised that the one who was shouting had a gun which he fired. The pair calmly got into a van and drove off.

The following day the brothers were traced to an unauthorised travellers' encampment near Cocksburnpath, in Berwickshire.

During an interview with officers Martin McGroary claimed that Mr Stewart had been threatening him and his brother for a long time.

He admitted posting the Facebook video and to firing the shotgun into a field, before putting the weapon in a bush. The gun was not recovered.

Connor McGroary, formerly of White Street, Whitburn, in West Lothian, was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work under a two year community payback order.

Lord Turnbull said he took into account his age and lack of previous offending and that his involvement was "spontaneous".

Defence counsel Gordon Jackson QC, for Martin McGroary, said that those involved were from what was often called the travelling community.

Mr Jackson said the gun was never discharged at anyone, but was fired in the air.

Janice Green, counsel for the younger brother, said the first offender was now living in Carlisle.

She said it was "a short lived incident from beginning to end" and no premeditation was involved.