THREE callous yobs who were involved in a sickening attack on a disabled woman and her partner have been warned they face being locked up.
Teenage trio David Allan, Scott Carruthers and Dean Johnstone were part of a drunken gang who surrounded Irene Crawford and mocked her because she walks with the aid of a stick.
When Ms Crawford and her 30-year-old partner, Joseph McDonald, tried to walk away, the yobs followed them and subjected them to a terrifying ordeal.
As some members of the gang took hold of Mr McDonald, vicious Allan – who was just 16 at the time – punched him repeatedly on the head.
When his victim fell to the ground, Allan was believed to be one of several thugs who kicked him on the head.
Carruthers, 18, was then seen to run forward and join others who were punching and kicking Mr McDonald as he lay helpless on the ground, trying to protect himself from injury.
As police headed to the scene, 17-year-old Johnstone joined in by spitting in Ms Crawford’s face.
Paisley Sheriff Court heard how the entire episode was captured on CCTV cameras by operators who had been monitoring the aftermath of the traditional switching on of Johnstone’s Christmas lights.
Mr McDonald had to be taken to Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment to his injuries, which included severe bruising and swelling to both eyes, a deep cut behind his left ear and swelling to the back of his head.
In court, Allan, of Bute Drive, and Carruthers, of Stirling Drive, both Johnstone, admitted assaulting Mr McDonald by punching and kicking him. They pleaded guilty to acting in an art-and-part basis.
Johnstone, of Rankine Street, Johnstone, pleaded guilty to spitting on Ms Crawford.
The court was told there had been celebrations earlier that evening, in November last year, as the festive lights in Johnstone town centre were switched on.
Later, as Mr McDonald and Ms Crawford were crossing the road, they were suddenly surrounded by a large group of youths, including the three accused.
Ms Crawford is registered disabled and walks with the aid of a stick and the neds began to heckle her about this.
Defence solicitor Terry Gallanagh said that Allan, who uses cannabis on a daily basis in an effort to “calm him down”, had also drank fortified wine, cider and lager on the night in question.
He added that Carruthers had been placed on a Community Payback Order earlier this year in connection with a theft and was making progress. An action plan had been put in place to address underlying issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, negative peer group associations and gang violence.
Lawyer Scott Banks said that Johnstone was in full-time employment as an apprentice roofer and had been under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.
Sheriff George Kavanagh deferred sentence until October 1 and called for background reports to be prepared.
He warned the three accused: “I am seriously considering custody here.”