Lanarkshire yobs in bungled petrol bomb attack 'did not know' their target

Alexander Murphy was snared using DNA evidence from the scene.
-Credit: (Image: Pressteam)

Two yobs who hurled a petrol bomb at a businessman's luxury £1m home during a bungled attack did not know the victim, a court heard.

Declan Cox, 26, who targeted 61-year-old Paul Brooks at his home in upmarket Thorntonhall, Lanarkshire, has been spared a jail sentence.

Alexander Murphy, 26, is due to be sentenced in July.

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CCTV footage captured figures approaching the house and throwing an item onto the driveway before they fled the scene in October 2019.

The device failed to explode but wasn't discovered until the next day when Brooks found broken glass and damage to a Volkswagen Scirocco.

He called in police and told investigating officers he had no idea why he had been targeted.

The case went cold until DNA belonging to Cox was found on the mouthpiece of a plastic bottle which had been left at the scene.

His co-accused Alexander Murphy, 26, was later arrested over an unconnected theft but his fingerprint and DNA were found to match traces on a sock which had been used as part of the bomb.

Cox and Murphy, both of Glasgow, denied all wrong doing and went on trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court where they were convicted of possessing a petrol bomb 'with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property'.

They were also found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by throwing the device.

Sheriff John Speir has now ordered Cox to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and be tagged for a year as well as being under supervision for 12 months.

Paul Mullen, defending Cox, said: "These were quite unusual circumstances in that the complainer did not know him and the crime is quite inexplicable.

"Thankfully there was no real damage caused and no loss of property.

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"He has not come to the attention of the authorities since this and I think the court can dispose of this in a way which makes clear that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and that Mr Cox can pay back to the community for his crime."

Brooks, who is now retired, told the court: "I don't know why it happened and it's a question I simply don't know the answer to."

Forensic scientist Joanne Dalglish, 43, told jurors the DNA found on items at the scene was 'one million times more likely' to have belonged to Cox and Murphy.

Sheriff Speir said: "You found yourself convicted by a jury of what is a very serious matter and one that clearly passes the custody threshold.

"There is something unusual about this case not least the fact that back in 2019 you and Mr Murphy were both aged 22 and you appear before the court as someone with who has not been involved in criminal activity since then.

"Very much on a margin I'm persuaded that there is an alternative to custody available."