FOUR brothers convicted of carrying out a brutal assault after bursting into a home in Ayr while armed with a shovel have been caged.

Gordon, Thomas, Alexander and John Ward were locked up for a total of almost eight years after attacking and injuring two men in Ayr’s Princes Court.

The four – of Viewfield Court, Anderson Crescent, George’s Road and Gould Street respectively – were found guilty of carrying out the savage assault following a trial at the town’s sheriff court.

The quartet attended the property uninvited on April 22, 2021, repeatedly shouting, swearing, and acting aggressively while making threats of violence.

They then assaulted a man, while acting with others, with the victim headbutted then punched in the head and body.

He was also kicked on the head and body, with one poking a finger into the victim’s eye.

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He was also beaten on the body with a shovel all to his injury.

The four were found guilty by a majority verdict on a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour – while the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on the charge of assault.

Gordon Ward, 38, was found guilty unanimously of repeatedly punching another man in the head to his injury, and was also convicted by a majority of jury members of being in possession of an offensive weapon – namely a hammer.

Gordon Ward’s defence solicitor, Hugh Duncan, told Sheriff Shirley Foran: “He has seven children, certain family responsibilities, and is not working. There are previous convictions, but they are predominantly road traffic offences.

“He is currently on a community payback order and he has engaged with the supervisor and attended regarding relevant agencies.

“It’s a really serious situation he is in, there’s no getting away from that. He is able to comply with a restriction of liberty order.”

Defending 30-year-old Thomas Ward, solicitor Steven Maxwell said: “My client resides most days with his father, providing day-today care.

“While I accept these are still serious matters, there are enough mitigatory factors to allow my lady on the finest of margins to step back from custody.

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“There has been no further offending. He would do anything to avoid custody.”

Robert Logan, representing 24-year-old Alexander Ward, said: “He has one previous conviction – I understand for a bald tyre.

“He is married with five children. He has significant care duties for his wife and family. He runs his own business with five employees.

“It very much in the forefront of his mind that he could face custody.

“He never denied he himself was violent but did put forward the special defence of self defence. Obviously the jury came to a different conclusion.

“One thing not touched on could be compensation. It seems to be one isolated incident.”

The solicitor representing 39-year-old John Ward added: “Mr Ward’s well aware of his position.

“He relocated to Ayr from Kirkcaldy and cares for his son now 17.

“He has no other matters outstanding and clearly is in a position to carry out unpaid work.”

Sheriff Shirley Foran said: “I am of the view a group of men entered someone else’s home effectively mob handed – at least four against one, because it’s clear there were others involved who did not appear at trial – attacking one then two persons, causing injury.

“In these circumstances I’m not persuaded there is anything other than a custodial sentence available.

“I acknowledge each accused had different roles, but in circumstances of joint enterprise I intend to make little distinction.”

Gordon Ward was jailed for a total of 27 months, while Thomas Ward and John Ward were each sentenced to two years. Alexander Ward was caged for 18 months.