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Carlisle man with learning difficulties stabbed and shot in lengthy attack
By Staff Reporter
Last updated 10:12, Saturday, 18 July 2009
A Carlisle man with learning difficulties was held prisoner for four hours as his captors subjected him to a night of torture and humiliation.
Terrified William Scott, 37, was stabbed, spat on and attacked by a dog as he tried desperately to escape his tormentors, the city’s crown court heard. The men responsible for his ordeal – 33-year-old Mark Carruthers, 28-year-old Aiden Day and ringleader Scott Armstrong, 26 – were all given lengthy jail terms.
Steve McNally, prosecuting, said two of the men – Day and Armstrong – were previously friends of their victim. Mr Scott had been with Day and Armstrong at the latter’s home in Henderson Road, Currock, when he incident began on January 26.
They watched TV, chatted and drank beer until about 11.30pm, when Armstrong’s behaviour began to change.
He began making accusations – entirely unfounded – about Mr Scott’s behaviour towards a woman some years earlier with whom Armstrong had a relationship, said the barrister.
The girl herself knew nothing of the claims Armstrong made, said Mr McNally. “Scott Armstrong’s behaviour became more threatening,” said the barrister. He tried to tie up Mr Scott using a pair of overalls.
Armstrong told his victim: “Give us your phone – I’m going to torture you.”
Armstrong sent the woman in question a text message, saying: “Av got billy hear hostige! gunna torcher him like he hurt U! X X.”
By this time terrified, Mr Scott tried to flee the house but Aiden Day, who is Armstrong’s cousin, stopped him.
He grabbed Mr Scott’s jumper as he ran, causing him to fall near the front door, dragging him back into the house. “The commotion agitated Scott Armstrong’s Staffordshire bull terrier Bruno, and the dog bit William Scott to the face, causing a nasty cut,” said Mr McNally.
Inside the house, after locking the door, Armstrong continued to threaten his victim, leaning towards him and saying: “I’m gonna kill you.”
At about midnight, Armstrong called Carruthers, who lives at Buchanan Road, and said: “Come up and torture Billy with us.”
Carruthers accepted the invitation, and once in the house, began stabbing Mr Scott with a fork in the leg, arms and neck.
“He also spat on him and punched him once in the face,” said Mr McNally.
Armstrong then brandished a pellet gun, and shot Mr Scott in the thigh. His ordeal ended later, after Carruthers had left, and the other two defendants said they needed cigarettes.
They went with their victim to his home after he said he would get some for them. Once there, he raised the alarm with his father, who called the police.
Mr McNally added that Armstrong was clearly the ringleader in the attack.
He admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, false imprisonment and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an assault; Carruthers admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and Day admitted false imprisonment.
Greg Hoare, for Armstrong, said his client was now a chastened person. At the time, he was affected by alcohol and taking prescribed anti-depressants.
But he understood now that his accusations against his victim were entirely without foundation, said Mr Hoare, adding: “He has asked me to apologise for his appalling conduct that night.”
Kim Whittlestone, for Carruthers, said her client could not explain why he had acted as he had. She added: “He liked to be one of the crowd and was overly keen to please the wrong people.”
Alison Whalley, for Day, of Main Street, Springfield, Gretna, said he was remorseful, adding: “He understands the impact that his offending has had on the victim. It is out of character for him.”
Judge Paul Batty QC, passing sentence, said: “It is a sad and depressing fact that this is the second case I have had to deal with today involving false imprisonment, and humiliation and torture of a vulnerable individual.”
Judge Batty jailed Armstrong for five years; Carruthers for three years; and Day for two years.