Maddiston crossbow teen sentenced

Sam Newns was still a learner driver when he took his mother's car
Sam Newns was still a learner driver when he took his mother's car

A teenager who brandished a crossbow at police after crashing his mother’s car has been sentenced to unpaid work.

Sam Newns drove off in the car with “an arsenal of weaponry” after discovering “flirtatious” messages from a man on his mum’s computer in September 2014.

He raged all day, despite the fact that Mrs Newns and his father had been separated for approximately ten years.

Around 8pm then about 8pm he drove off in the black VW Golf estate – although he was a provisional licence holder and was not covered by insurance.

Driving without lights and speeding, he drifted across the road in Lower Road, Maddiston, Falkirk, striking an oncoming Mazda supermini.

The driver and two passengers were all injured and had to taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital with “severe whiplash”, but Newns failed to stop.

Procurator fiscal depute Ann Orr told Stirling Sheriff Court: “About this time police received a message from Frances Newns who said her son had left the house ‘in a bad mindset’.”

Mrs Orr said: “Officers were dispatched to find him. Information was received that he was heading in the direction of the Black Loch in Limerigg.”

A few minutes later, police found Mrs Newns’ Golf in the carpark of Limerigg Primary School.

Mrs Orr said it was badly damaged and the front offside tyre was “no longer present”.

Newns’ father, John Newns, arrived at the scene, and information was received that his son was in possession of a crossbow.

About 9.20 pm, officers were still outside the school when the teenager appeared “out of a foggy night” with a crossbow in his right hand, and a bag over his shoulder containing “an arsenal of weaponry”, including a lock-knife, a smaller knife, a machete, a small axe, a total of 15 crossbow bolts, crossbow bolt tips, a retractable saw, ball bearings, and a sling-shot.

He brandished the crossbow in the direction of police before placing it against his own head and walking away.

The teen then ran into the wood but came out five minutes later with his hands in the air and was arrested.

Newns, of Forgie Crescent, Maddiston, admitted dangerous driving, drink-driving, failing to display learner plates, possessing a crossbow as an offensive weapon and brandishing it in the direction of officers.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing knives, a machete, an axe and other weaponry in a public place without reasonable excuse.

Defence solicitor Stephen Biggam said his client had “taken a decision to get away from everybody and live life in the wilderness, and hunt animals and rabbits, away from all the family difficulties”.

Sheriff Wylllie Robertson sentenced Newns to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for two-and-a-half years, during which he will also have to comply with any treatment prescribed by psychiatrists, and address other issues including substance misuse and anger management. He was banned from driving for 18 months

The sheriff told him: “Am I going to sentence you to detention, that’s what you want to know? The answer is I don’t know. The clear answer is not yet.

“I am going to impose a community payback order which will be strict and enduring. A very significant sentence of detention awaits you if you don’t comply.”