Custody should have come before sentence

A gang of hooded teenagers led by a control freak aged just 17 chase two terrified schoolboys through Galashiels town centre.

The youngsters flee into a lonely lane where they are beaten and kicked in a totally unprovoked attack.

One of the victims, aged 15, is left unconscious with a possible life-threatening brain injury. His pal is discovered covered in blood in a nearby car park.

This week a sheriff used his full sentencing powers and caged evil Paul Reynolds for five years – branding the Galashiels thug a danger to the public.

We couldn’t agree more. But the fact that Reynolds was a danger was known to the courts before he led the attack.

In fact he carried out the assaults because he knew he was facing a hefty custodial sentence for trying to strangle a 15-year-old girl.

She fought for breath as Reynolds tightened both hands around her neck. Her plight only ended when one of her friends dragged him off.

Just before the terror attack on the schoolboys he said he wanted one last good fight before going to jail.

One question that needs answered is why this nasty piece of humanity was still on the streets and able to continue his brutal behaviour.

Reynolds was on three bail orders when he attacked the young lads. Surely if someone throttles a young girl until she turns red and struggles for breath, that is a clear indication he constitutes a danger.

Confirmation of the seriousness of that crime is that he was jailed for four years.

But why was he free to put two other young lives at risk?

If his strangling attack warranted four years behind bars – surely he should have been locked up until he was sentenced.