Jun 1 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
TWO thugs attacked council gardeners when they refused to give them cigarettes.
John Davidson and Ian McKinley assaulted the men while they were working at Hillhead in Coylton on July 20 last year.
And 25-year-old Davidson even grabbed one of the garden hoes and threatened one of the men with it.
Ryan MacInally, Jamie Hillhouse and Gary Milligan were loading equipment into the back of their South Ayrshire Council van when Davidson and McKinley approached them.
The men had seen cigarettes lying on the passenger seat of the van and refused to leave, despite being told by the council workers that they wouldn’t be given any of them.
Mr Milligan finally threatened to call the police and when he turned around to call his boss, McKinley punched Mr Hillhouse and Davidson attacked Mr MacInally.
Davidson then picked up the garden hoe from the back of the council van and chased after Mr MacInally with it.
Both men appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court this week to stand trial. The court heard that Davidson had chased Mr MacInally on to a main road in front of traffic during the assault.
And that McKinley, 21, had punched Mr Hillhouse on the side of the head leaving a slight bruise. But due to the time that had passed between the attack taking place and the court trial, both Mr Hillhouse and Mr Milligan couldn’t positively say that the two men in the dock were their attackers.
However, after all three gardeners had taken the stand to give evidence, Davidson and McKinley changed their pleas.
Davidson admitted pushing Mr MacInally on the body to his injury and brandishing an offensive weapon, namely a garden hoe.
His pleas of not guilty to punching Mr MacInally and behaving in a threatening and abusive manner were accepted by prosecutors.
McKinley admitted punching Mr Hillhouse on the head to his injury and his not guilty plea to assaulting Mr MacInally was accepted.
Sheriff John Montgomery deferred sentence until a later date so that background reports could be compiled.
The sheriff told the men that he considered this to be a very serious offence. He said: “To interfere with people going about their business is a serious matter and you should be aware of that.”
Davidson, of Argyle Park in Ayr, and Ian McKinley, of Old School Wynd in Ochiltree, were released until sentencing.