HeadLine: BULLY BATTERED SOLDIER TO A PULP WITH BROOMSTICK
Daily Record, 01/06/1999, p12
by SHAUN MILNE
A SOLDIER who left a fellow serviceman “gurgling blood” in a cowardly
attack with a broomstick walked free from court yesterday.
A sheriff said he was sparing Paul Moran jail because of a reference
saying he was a good soldier.
The assault, at the Royal Marines’ Condor base near Arbroath, was so
violent the broom handle snapped in two.
Victim Christopher Kelly was set upon as he slept by two men – Moran
and fellow soldier Iain Finlayson.
He was so badly beaten he was unable to return to duty for two weeks.
Moran, 21, and 27-year-old Finlayson attacked Kelly after an argument
at a house outside the base.
At a previous hearing, Arbroath Sheriff Court was told how Kelly was
asked to leave the house and went back to the base where he fell asleep
in the early hours.
He woke to find Finlayson putting him in a headlock and Moran beating
him with the handle.
Moran lashed out with such force that his co-accused was forced to
Kelly was left bleeding heavily with extensive bruising to his back,
mouth, eyes and nose.
Despite the handle being broken in the course of the attack, Moran
continued to strike Kelly.
He was still laying into him when other soldiers in the barrack block
arrived to find out what was happening.
Arthur Wheelan, prosecuting, said those treating Kelly heard him
“gurgling blood” after the attack.
All three men are members of the 7th Battery Royal Artillery unit,
which is based at RM Condor.
Moran admitted striking Kelly repeatedly over the head and body with
a broom handle to his injury.
Finlayson admitted assaulting him and holding him by the head on
April 1 this year.
Yesterday, Sheriff Norrie Stein told Moran he had only been saved
from a prison sentence because of a glowing reference from his
Sheriff Stein, who earlier described the attack as “appalling” and
threatened to jail Moran, said: “What you did was totally unacceptable.
“But I take into account in your favour the fact that you did plead
guilty at the start and that you have expressed remorse for what you
“I note a very positive reference from your troop commander, who
speaks very highly of you.”
He fined Moran £1000. Finlayson was fined £300 at a hearing in the same court earlier this month.
Both men are still serving alongside their victim at RM Condor.
The base and its personnel were slated earlier this year after the
death of a girl.
In February, 20-year-old Caroline McIntosh was smuggled through the
gates by three Marines. She and a friend had met them in an Arbroath
Caroline died as a result of choking on her own vomit after a
drinking binge in the barracks.
The results of a subsequent MoD inquiry into security at the base
have yet to be made public.
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