Ex-squaddie jailed for violent assault and car jacking

Caghal Coyne appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court
Caghal Coyne appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court

A former soldier who assaulted a driver and stole the vehicle – which was later set on fire – had swallowed 200 Valium tablets before the attack.

James McGarva (31), who had become hooked on tranquillisers after a six year stint in the army, committed the crime in broad daylight at 5pm in Kilbrennan Drive, Tamfourhill.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court today, McGarva had pled guilty to assaulting the 47-year-old man and then stealing his car on August 15.

The victim, who was driving home, was forced to brake suddenly to a halt as two men – one of them McGarva – walked in front of the vehicle. The man was repeatedly punched before being dragged from the vehicle.

The assault continued while he was on the ground and he was left with facial injuries and bruising.

McGarva and his accomplice, who has not yet been arrested, then drove off in the car, a 2008 silver Ford Focus, which was found two hours later in flames, outside the Carronbridge Inn, Carron. It had been deliberately set on fire, and was completely burnt out.

The court heard McGarva, of Falkirk, was a plasterer and a scaffolder after serving in the army, and has a happily married family man until he became involved with drugs in 2015.

It was stated the attack was not random as there had been “bad blood” between McGarva and the victim.

Sheriff John Mundy, jailing McGarva for two years, said his crime was “atrocious.”