Published: 24/07/2010 00:00 - Updated: 06/05/2011 13:08

Brutal attack brothers sent to jail

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TWO brothers who left a man permanently scarred after beating him up in front of customers in a Merkinch shop were put behind bars on Tuesday.

Gordon and Scott Lapsley had attended a friend's funeral and were wearing Highland dress when they carried out what was described as a "sustained, premeditated and violent" attack on Jonathan Sinclair in Rodgers Shop, Grant Street.

Both were sentenced to 18 months in prison following the seven-minute assault which was captured on CCTV and showed Gordon Lapsley doing stretching exercises just before the attack.

A third attacker, Scott Lapsley's partner Colleen Jaffray, who joined the fray despite being sober and heavily pregnant, was placed on probation for 18 months and ordered to carry out 220 hours of community service.

Inverness Sheriff Court previously heard how the victim was known to the Lapsleys who had been told he had been charged with assaulting their sister.

Depute fiscal Ron Phillips described how the brothers had spotted Mr Sinclair, who made his way into the shop seeking refuge.

They followed him in and the shopkeeper saw Gordon Lapsley take Mr Sinclair to the rear of the shop while Scott Lapsley waited at the entrance to stop people coming in.

Mr Phillips said Scott Lapsley told the shopkeeper to switch off the CCTV but he left it on.

All three admitted on October 23 last year repeatedly punching and kicking Mr Sinclair about the head and body, forcing him to the ground and while he lay there, repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body, and repeatedly stamping on his head, all to his injury and permanent disfigurement.

The video footage showed the attack by the two brothers, then Jaffray came in and kicked the victim six times. Gordon Lapsley was also seen stamping on the victim's head for about a minute.

Mr Phillips said one person in the shop tried to intervene but was never traced.

After the attack, Mr Sinclair had to be helped to his feet and he left the shop. Police traced him in Chapel Street.

At Raigmore Hospital, he had three stitches in his forehead, five to the tip of his nose and three above his lip. He also had bumps and bruises to his forehead, chest and back, but there were no fractures.

On Tuesday, solicitor Neil Wilson, defending father-of-six Gordon Lapsley (29), said he had been drinking and had little memory of the offence.

He said he was "shocked" by the footage and "apologised unreservedly". He said he was an assault victim himself, having been stabbed in 2008 and left with facial scarring.

Formerly of Merkinch, he had since moved to Aberdeenshire.

Defence agent David Hingston, representing Scott Lapsley (27), revealed Gordon Lapsley had been stabbed by an associate of Jonathan Sinclair.

He said Scott indicated he had only hit Mr Sinclair because he had started on him outside the shop and "threatened to stab me just the same as how Gordon had been stabbed".

He added he had claimed he had consumed a "stunning" amount of alcohol, including 40 pints, eight double shots of rum and five double whiskies.

He said Scott Lapsley, also now of Aberdeen, had moved there with Jaffray, because they were fearful of repercussions. He added damage worth 13,000 had been done to their property, although it was unknown who had caused it.

Representing mum-of-three Jaffray (23), who lives with Scott Lapsley, solicitor Craig Wood said she had joined the attack during a "lull".

Sheriff Margaret Neilson branded it a "sustained and brutal" attack which by luck had not resulted in worse injuries.

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