Drunken thug attacked girl (13) in public park

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A violent drunk grabbed a 13-year-old girl by her neck for no reason as she walked in a public park with friends.

Robert McWhannell (30) attacked the teenager after he earlier tried to assault a man, who ended up sitting on the intoxicated menace to try and calm him down. When he was eventually allowed up, McWhannell grab the girl, who happened to be passing by, around the neck with both hands.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday, McWhannell had pled guilty to the assaults he committed in Herbertshire Park, Denny on September 26.

Procurator fiscal depute Ann Orr said: “It was 8pm and the accused went out to a local shop to buy more alcohol. An argument broke out between the accused and the man he was with and the accused is described as going wild, hitting the complainer with a punch to the head.

“The victim’s partner tried to intervene and the accused calmed down. The victim sat on top of the accused on the grass to hold him down and calm him down. When he let the accused go he jumped up and assaulted a 13-year-old girl who was passing by, seizing her by the neck with both hands.

“People intervened and the accused was chased away and ran off into the park. He was traced 15 minutes later by police.”

Neil Hay, defence solicitor, said: “He has a partner and two young children around about the age of the girl he attacked. When he is sober in the light of day he is horrified events like this took place.

“He has no recollection of the events. He has had a terrible problem with alcohol. He considers himself to have an illness.”

Sheriff Craig Caldwell said: “You assaulted a 13-year-old girl who had offered no offence – she was simply in the park enjoying herself on a summer evening.”

McWhannell, 19 Blaefaulds Crescent, Denny, was placed on a supervised community payback order for 12 months with the condition he complete 160 hours of unpaid work within six months.