July 4, 2022

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Driver jailed after murdering victim by mowing him down outside Lanarkshire home

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A killer driver was caged for life today after he deliberately mowed down a Lanarkshire dad.

Marc Hamilton, 39, ploughed his Peugeot 207 into Gary Starrs near to the victim’s home in Blantyre on May 29, 2020.

Hamilton and his associate Christopher Johnstone had been in the area looking to buy cocaine.

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Mr Starrs, 47, was thought to have been angry at them being there and initially confronted Johnstone.

It was soon after Hamilton drove at the dad, sending him sprawling and leaving him with a fatal head injury.

Hamilton had denied murder, but was found guilty following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lord Fairley set the punishment part of the sentence to 14 years.

The judge told him: “The jury thought the assault on the victim that morning was wicked and reckless as to the consequences.

“This conclusion is not surprising based on the evidence.

“You deliberately drove the car along the pavement and you hit him, causing his head to hit the ground.

“He suffered a catastrophic brain injury from which he later died.

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“It’s clear from his family’s statement that his death is deeply felt by them and no sentence will change that.”

Jurors heard how Hamilton was in the car with Johnstone and a woman.

The court was told the “purpose of them driving around Blantyre was to source cocaine”.

They stopped near to Mr Starrs’ family home. His wife was ill at the time.

After the dad went outside, he ended up being hit by crazed Hamilton.

The victim’s son Gary Starrs jnr gave evidence during the trial and told how he came to his dad’s aid.

He told jurors: “He was knocked back a few feet. I went over to my father. He had blood around his head and was breathing erratically.”

Asked by prosecutor Chris Fyffe if his dad was “moving”, the witness replied: “No.”

One woman recalled what she described as an “oh my God moment” as she heard a car engine “revving” and the vehicle then “shot forward”.

Mr Starrs died in hospital on June 9 2020. The court heard he suffered a “catastrophic” head injury from which he never recovered.

In his closing speech, Mr Fyffe said the victim had “no chance to avoid” Hamilton.

Hamilton’s QC Donald Findlay told the sentencing that he acted in a way which was “clearly wrong with tragic consequences.”

Johnstone, 32, – who did not face the murder accusation – had been charged with attacking Mr Starrs by punching him on the head and body.

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But, he was acquitted after the allegation was dropped during the trial.

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