An “out of control” teenager jumped up and down on a man’s head in a brutal Perth city centre attack, as horrified onlookers begged him to stop.
Christopher Devlin was seen assaulting his blood-soaked victim during a five-day crime spree.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that the 18-year-old broke into a pub and stole hundreds of pounds worth of booze, smashed his way into a stranger’s home and reset a mobility scooter that had vanished outside a city centre nightspot.
Devlin, who already has eight convictions for drugs, dishonesty and firearms, was told he was lucky that assault victim Michael Houston had survived the attack and that he was not facing a charge of murder.
Sheriff Gillian Wade told the teenager: “It is time for you to have a wake up call.
“Your behaviour has escalated out of control and the other way I can deal with this matter is by way of a custodial sentence.”
Locking Devlin up for 28 months, she said: “This sort of assault is often seen in the high court, where people ultimately end up killing, or almost killing, their victims. You must address this sort of violence.
“There is no alternative. You have simply run out of lives.”
One man crime wave
Devlin’s one man crime wave began when he targeted the independently-owned Grill Bar, Fleshers’ Vennel.
Fiscal depute Alistair McDermid said that owner Brian MacDonald had locked up at 2pm on March 29.
“At about 10.30am the next day, Mr MacDonald received a call from a friend stating that he had been made aware that the pub was insecure,” Mr McDermid said.
“Mr MacDonald went to the bar immediately and, once inside, he noticed that the spirits cupboard was ajar and the petty cash lockbox was missing, although this was empty at the time.”
Devlin was caught on CCTV breaking into the pub, and putting nearly £250 of spirits into a black bag before running outside.
Later that afternoon, Devlin was caught assaulting Mr Houston in the city’s York Place.
“At about 4.20pm, a witness at A&S Properties heard a very loud bang coming from outside,” said Mr McDermid.
“He went to the front of the store to take a look. He could not see anything, but heard a voice coming from York Place.
“He went towards the voice and saw Mr Houston lying with his legs up some steps, and his head down beside a closed door.”
Mr McDermid said: “The accused at this time was kicking the complainer to the face, and stomping on his head.
“The witness shouted at the accused: ‘What are you doing?’
“However, the accused ignored him and continued to kick Mr Houston to the head.
“The witness backed off, stating he was contacting police. Two other witnesses arrived and they attempted to engage with the accused.
“Their efforts were ignored and the accused continued to kick and jump on the victim’s head.
“One man intervened and tried to pull the accused away. But Mr Devlin broke free and made his way down South Methven Street.”
Police officers arrived and saw Mr Houston standing at the roadside, with his face covered in blood.
“He was slurring his words and not making much sense,” said Mr McDermid. “He was taken by ambulance to Perth Royal Infirmary for treatment. He had a number of facial fractures, which did not require surgery and will be left to heal themselves.”
The fiscal depute told the court: “Mr Houston was a hostile witness.”
Sheriff Wade heard that a mobility scooter which had gone missing from outside the Bank Bar, South Methven Street, at about 2pm on March 31, was spotted at a nearby convenience store a short time later.
Devlin was found inside the store and was challenged about the scooter.
After repeatedly denying all knowledge, he then produced the keys from his pocket.
Face-to-face with intruder
The court heard that at about 2am on April 2, a witness at a flat in Canal Street heard his front door handle being turned.
“He then heard a loud bang, as if someone had forced their way into the property,” said Mr McDermid.
“The witness called out: ‘Who’s in my house?’
“There was no reply, but he noticed that the living room door was ajar. He carefully opened the door and saw accused staring back at him.
“He quickly slammed the door closed and held onto the door handle in an effort to trap the accused in the room.”
When police arrived at the property, they found the living room empty and a window wide open.
The court heard that Devlin had amassed a drugs debt and his behaviour spiralled out of control after he became homeless at the start of the first lockdown.
Devlin, who is at HMYOI Polmont, admitted charges of theft, assault to severe injury, reset and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by entering premises by force at night.