Driver pulled from car and beaten up in Falkirk estate

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A man is facing jail after beating up a driver then stealing his car which was later found on fire.

James McGarva (31) was one of two men involved in the carjacking in Tamfourhill.

The incident last August 15 happened in broad daylight, at 5pm, as victim Ian Wright was driving home.

Falkirk Sheriff Court was told that as he entered Kilbrennan Drive Mr Wright (47) was forced to brake suddenly to a stop as two men walked in front of the vehicle from the nearside.

Prosecutor Samantha Brown said the men then walked round the front of the car to the driver’s side, where the window was down.

Miss Brown said: “Mr Wright reported feeling that he was being punched in the face, repeatedly, whilst he was still sitting in the driver’s seat.”

The depute fiscal said Mr Wright described it as “rapid punching”, as a result of which he was “dazed”, and not clear which of the men was delivering the blows.

One of the men tried to pull the keys out of the ignition, before Mr Wright was dragged from the drivers’ seat.

Miss Brown said: “At that point he was forced to the ground where he was repeatedly assaulted, being punched to the head and body.”

A passing bus then arrived at the scene, and CCTV footage from the public service vehicle showed McGarva and the other male, who has not yet been arrested, repeatedly assaulting Mr Wright while he was on the ground, punching him.

Mr Wright is then seen on the footage staggering, dazed, to his feet.

But McGarva’s accomplice sat in the driver’s seat of his car while McGarva “continued the assault on Mr Wright to prevent him from making any attempt to enter the vehicle again”.

Miss Brown said: “Ultimately, eventually, Mr McGarva jumped into the back of the car, behind the driver, and it was driven away.”

Mr Wright managed to “stagger off” to a nearby house, where a friend’s mother lived.

He was taken to hospital and needed four stitches to a wound under his right eye. His other eye was bruised, and he had bruises all over his body.

His car, a 2008 silver Ford Focus, was found two hours later in flames, outside the Carronbridge Inn in Carron,. Miss Brown said it had been deliberately set on fire, and was completely burnt out.

Inquiries led to Mr McGarva, and he was arrested the following day.

Miss Brown added: “The other person has also been identified, and a warrant has been granted, but he has not been apprehended on that warrant.”

McGarva, of Falkirk, pleaded guilty today to acting with the other man in assaulting Mr Wright to his injury, and robbing him of his car.

He was remanded in custody for reports and sentence was deferred until December 13.

Hazel McGuinness, defending, said she would reserve her speech in mitigation for the sentencing hearing