Renfrew drug addict “given chance” by sheriff after punching vulnerable woman

A Renfrew man who has been a drug addict since he was 13 years old has been “given a chance” by a sheriff after attacking a vulnerable woman and bursting her face.

Brute, John Logan, 43 punched Debbie Shankland when she was waiting on her support worker to take her to a pharmacy to collect her prescription in March last year.

Logan, who appeared on a BBC Panorama documentary when he was just 14 years old that showcased Paisley’s drug problem, punched Ms Shankland.

The blow burst her eyebrow, causing it to bleed and her eye to swell.

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On Friday, the serial offender avoided a jail sentence and was given a chance to prove himself.

Taking Logan’s troubled background into consideration, Sheriff Bruce Erroch QC said: “It would be easy for me to look at your record and just send you to jail, because that has happened frequently in your life.

“But there are alternatives and I’m going to give you a chance to prove yourself here.”

Fiscal depute Carly McLeod told Paisley Sheriff Court that Ms Shankland was waiting outside her Renfrew home just before 10am on March 24 last year and was waiting on her support worker when Logan approached her.

Ms McLeod explained: “Ms Shankland was on Paisley Road waiting on her support worker to take her to the chemist for her prescription.

“Around 10am, Ms Shankland was within her doorway when she was approached by the accused.

“On seeing the accused, the witness Chambers, who is the support worker who had just arrived, moved Logan away from Ms Shankland.

“Chambers asked Logan what he was doing and he replied he was ‘Just giving her the paper.’

“Shankland and the support worker then started to walk to the pharmacy when the accused approached Shankland who was near to the road and several parked cars, and punched the right side of her face, making contact with her right eye.

“The punch cut the complainer’s eyebrow, causing bleeding and swelling to her eye.

“She thereafter lay down on steps holding her face due to the assault.”

Court heard the incident was captured on CCTV and following the attack, Chambers took Ms Shankland to the chemist, where staff contacted police.

Defence agent Paul Lynch told the court Logan “makes no attempt to minimise his actions and accepts responsibility.”

Mr Lynch explained Logan’s chaotic and troubled background, adding: “He has had a drug addiction problem since he was 13.

“When he was ten, his four-year-old sister was knocked down and killed just two weeks prior to her starting school.

“And when he was 14 years old, he appeared on a Panorama documentary in which the investigative journalists were in the Royal Alexandra Hospital exploring the drug problem in Paisley at the time.”

On sentencing, Sheriff Bruce Erroch QC said: “There are a number of factors here that concern me.

“This was an attack on a woman near to her home, you were intoxicated on Valium at the time and you have a number of previous convictions including assault and offensive weapons. However, the rate of your offending has slowed down.”

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Sheriff Erroch QC imposed 180 hours of unpaid work to be carried out in the community as a “direct alternative to custody.”

In addition, Logan was made subject to supervision from the social work department for 12 months and ordered to wear a tag for 90 days, keeping him within his home between 8pm and 8am each day.

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Daily Record – Paisley