34-year-old jailed for almost seven years for murder attempt in Galashiels

A man was jailed for six years and nine months today, December 6, for carrying out a brutal murder attempt after turning up at a house in Galashiels with selection boxes as Christmas gifts.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 2:02 pm
Beech Avenue in Galashiels.

Barry Smart, 34, stamped on his victim and inflicted knife wounds on him during that attack.

That onslaught left his victim, Michael Ledgerwood, 36, with serious injuries, the High Court in Edinburgh was told.

Lord Stephen Woolman told Smart: “You accept responsibility for at least part of the attack, although you claim to have no memory of using a knife.”

The judge said he took into account the absence of premeditation ahead of the assault, the remorse Smart has since expressed and his mental health difficulties, also noting significant injuries he sustained in a car crash on the A6105 Duns-to-Chirnside road in September last year.

He told Smart: “You are a relatively young man. You still have the potential to contribute to society.”

Smart launched the attack on Mr Ledgerwood, 36, after he arrived at the house in Beech Avenue in Langlee on December 12 last year accompanied by another man.

Mr Ledgerwood said that when he turned up at the address Smart was there with others and “seemed pretty much OK”.

However, later on he turned round and was suddenly hit on the back of the head by Smart, he told the court.

Mr Ledgerwood said: “I went straight to the floor. He started stamping on me. That’s when my memory went a wee bit hazy.”

Smart was stamping on his head and side, he said, adding: “It was about three or four times until I was knocked out.”

“I was lying flat out. I can sort of remember someone saying ‘he has had enough, Barry’,” he said.

After that attack, he was helped into a car and taken to the Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

Mr Ledgerwood, of Coldstream, said: “I was really dazed. I knew I’d had a kicking, but I wasn’t aware of my face.”

In response to advocate depute Graeme Jessop asking him what was wrong with his face, he replied: “It had been slashed open twice, down my face and my neck across my throat and windpipe.”

Mr Ledgerwood was later was transferred to St John’s Hospital in Livingston in West Lothian to have stitches and sutures put in his wounds, with one requiring 30 surgical stitches.

The left side of his face is now numb following the attack, the court heard.

Smart had earlier denied attempting to murder Mr Ledgerwood but was convicted by a jury in October.

He was found guilty of repeatedly punching Mr Ledgerwood to the head and body, repeatedly stamping on his head and body until he lost consciousness and repeatedly striking him to the head and neck with a knife to his severe injury and danger of life during the assault.

Defence counsel Sean Templeton said: “This was not a premeditated attack. He had no intention of killing anyone.”

Mr Templeton said Smart had gone to the house with selection boxes to give to relatives of his then girlfriend.

He said Smart, originally a Londoner but living at Crosshill in Chirnside of late, had been prescribed painkillers following a road accident but had also become involved with illicit drugs.

Smart was jailed for 14 days and banned from the road for 20 months in March over that collision with a tractor after admitting dangerous driving.

His defence counsel said that at the time of the attack he was also in poor mental health and that had “fuelled his anger and extreme reaction”.