A TROON man has been handed a lengthy prison term for his part in a vicious machete attack in broad daylight on a father who was seen carrying a child on his shoulders moments earlier.

Stuart Jess, 40, and his co-accused John Lucas, of Coatbridge, were sentenced on Wednesday after admitting their roles in the shocking assault in Edinburgh on March 9, 2021.

Jess and 43-year-old Lucas, who both have lengthy criminal records, had originally been charged with attempting to murder their victim, 35-year-old Marc Webley, in the city's Wester Drylaw Drive.

But after the Crown amended the charge, the pair pleaded guilty to assaulting their victim while acting with another by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a machete to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and the danger of his life.

Mr Webley suffered large, gaping wounds to his head, legs and arm in the assault which fractured his skull and left him with permanent scarring. 

Mr Webley declined to make a statement to police about what happened to him - but when Jess was detained, officers found a piece of paper inside a bag with Webley's address in Edinburgh written on it.

Ann Ogg, defending Jess, revealed he had used his own name and driving licence to hire the car used in the attack.

She said: “He was simply told to get a car and drive the car, and he did that – he drove through to Edinburgh. He wasn’t aware what was to happen.

“It was only at a very late stage that he became aware that something of a violent nature may happen. There was no suggestion that Mr Jess took part in the assault.

“His comment to the police was consistent with his position. He said: "I was just going through to do what I was told – to drive. I didn't commit any violence against anyone."

She claimed Jess was now fearful of wider repercussions stemming from his involvement in the incident.

She explained: “He is remanded in Saughton and has been threatened there. As I understand it, there are associates of the complainer in prison and he has to remain in constant lockdown and, when he moves within the prison he has to be accompanied by prison officers.”

She said the father of two had applied for a move to another prison. She added that he acknowledged that his actions had helped others to commit violence and he apologised for what he had done and expressed remorse and regret.

Solicitor advocate David Fiskin, defending Lucas, said the father-of-three had missed the 16th and 18th birthdays of two of his children, and was set to miss his eldest daughter’s 21st, as well as the birth of his first grandchild next month, as a result of his criminal conduct.

He said: “That’s brought home to him the position he’s put himself in. He stresses that his time in custody has been of benefit in that he’s obtained qualifications and he continues to address matters, feeling he’s too old for this kind of thing.”

Passing sentence, judge Lord Armstrong highlighted that Jess had 23 previous convictions for crimes including assault and Lucas had a criminal record comprising some 54 offences, including convictions for multiple assaults and a previous sentence of five-years in prison.

For their involvement in “this grave crime”, he told them there was no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence in each case.

He jailed Jess for five years and seven months, backdated to November 13, 2022.

Lucas was sentenced to six years, backdated to May 12, 2021, when he was first remanded. 

A previous hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh was told that the hire car used by the accused arrived in the capital’s Saughton area on the morning of the incident. Several people left a flat and got into the vehicle.

The car was then driven to the Drylaw area and, after spending time in the area, returned to Saughton.

It then set off again for the attack site with Jess driving and two male passengers. Lucas was a passenger in the rear seat.

CCTV cameras caught the attack victim walking on Wester Drylaw Drive with a young boy on his shoulders, carrying what appeared to be a school bag in his hand.

The black Dacia was seen travelling at a slow pace following Webley at a distance before accelerating. 

Two figures in dark clothing emerged from the vehicle after it stopped and, within seconds the distressed cries of a young child were picked up by the microphone on a CCTV camera.

The attackers returned to the Dacia which was driven off at speed, leaving Mr Webley bleeding from injuries to his head and leg and in a state of shock.

A 999 call was made but members of the victim's family turned up and took him to hospital.

The attack victim was found to have a wound to the back of his head and a skull fracture. A total of 15 staples were put in the flesh wound.

He required surgery to two large gaping wounds on his left thigh and lower leg. All the injuries will result in permanent scarring.

A machete with blood linked to the attack victim was recovered by police during a search of a flat at Murrayburn Grove, in Edinburgh, days after the assault.

DNA from Lucas was found on the handle.