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Thugs jailed for ‘appalling’ attack on strangers after Glenrothes night out

David Purvis and James Ellis both have a lengthy record of past crimes.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
McAllister's crimes were outlined at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

A pair of thugs who carried out an “appalling and gratuitous” attack on two strangers as they walked home after a night out in Glenrothes have been jailed.

David Purvis, 41, and James Ellis, 31, appeared from custody at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to plead guilty to assaulting and robbing their victims in the town’s Dornoch Place in the early hours of December 2 last year.

The attackers, who were acting with a third person, admitted repeatedly striking their victims in the head and body with a wooden bat or similar instrument.

One man was knocked unconscious, while the other was kicked in the head, struck in the head with an object and had a screwdriver put to his neck.

Prosecutor Christine Allan said one victim recalled the screwdriver being at his neck and one of the attackers telling him: “I am going to kill you if you don’t tell us your PIN code”.

Both men were robbed of their phones and one also had his wallet taken.

Ms Allan said one suffered facial injuries and needed stitches on his nose, which was visibly deformed.

The other had bruising and swelling around his jaw.

Hit ‘out of nowhere’

The two men were set upon shortly before 3am as they walked home from a friend’s house to which they had gone after being at Styx nightclub earlier in the night.

One recalled being approached by Purvis and Ellis and being asked for a cigarette.

He handed over the last of his cigarettes before walking on.

He said his friend was then struck in the head “out of nowhere” from behind by someone holding what he thought was a pool cue.

Afterwards, the victims made their way to one of their parents’ homes, where one collapsed on the hallway floor until police and paramedics arrived.

Past crimes

The court heard Purvis has a record including 18 crimes of dishonesty and eight crimes of violence, including a high court conviction in 2007 for a life-endangering assault with a knife and serious assault with a glass.

Ellis’s previous convictions include 29 crimes of dishonesty and a life-endangering assault in 2021.

Sheriff James Williamson said: “This was an appalling and lengthy, gratuitous attack on two men trying to make their way home.

“The violence perpetrated is utterly unacceptable.

“There is no alternative but custody”.

Sheriff Williamson jailed Purvis – who committed his crimes on bail – for three years and gave Ellis 32 months.

Their sentences were backdated to December 4 and 15 respectively – the dates they were first remanded.

‘Dream’ to live normal life

Defence lawyer David Cranston, representing Purvis, said his client committed the offence while heavily intoxicated.

The solicitor said Purvis’s “dream” is to live a normal, mundane life with a home, partner and job, and he is planning to “make the most of his time in custody to change his ways”.

Defence lawyer Dewar Spence, representing Ellis, said his client has “very little memory” of the night, having turned to drink to combat a difficult life experience in the days before the incident.

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