Dog killed and owner injured after they were caught in the crossfire of housing development murder attempt, as two men are locked up
- Michelle Butler and her maltichon dog Henry were caught in the crossfire
- The dog died and owner sustained a hand injury after shooting in Cumbernauld
- Reece Govan and Bran Gallacher are set to be sentenced next month in Stirling
Two men have been locked up after a murder attempt saw an innocent dog walker shot and her pet killed.
Reece Govan, 27, and Bran Gallacher, 26, chased a man through a housing development in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, when Michelle Butler and her maltichon dog Henry were caught in the crossfire.
Gallacher and Govan were set to stand trial at the High Court in Glasgow but yesterday admitted their crimes.
Govan fired at Marc McDermott, 31, with a shotgun, while convicted killer Gallacher lashed out with a machete during the attack on January 23, 2020.
Govan then fired at Mr McDermott again. But, as he struggled with the weapon, he hit Ms Butler and her pet. The animal died, after being struck by 25 shotgun pellets, suffering ‘catastrophic organ damage’. His owner sustained a hand injury.
Mr McDermott also survived the attack, but suffered a wound to his back for which he needed hospital treatment.
Reece Govan, 27, and Bran Gallacher, 26, chased a man through a housing development in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, when Michelle Butler and her maltichon dog Henry (pictured) were caught in the crossfire
The attack happened after Mr McDermott arrived home with his parents. They saw a ‘suspicious’ Ford Focus which they had spotted in the street weeks before.
Govan and Gallacher pleaded guilty yesterday to attempted murder. Govan also admitted two charges of culpably and recklessly discharging a firearm.
The attack happened after Mr McDermott arrived home with his parents. They saw a ‘suspicious’ Ford Focus which they had spotted in the street weeks before. Govan, Gallacher and a third man then jumped out of the vehicle and security camera footage showed them immediately going after Mr McDermott. One of the trio was heard yelling: ‘Get him.’
Prosecutor John McElroy, KC, told the court: ‘The footage captures the initial chase, showing Govan carrying what appears to be a shotgun and Gallacher carrying a machete.’
The victim sprinted down a lane but was struck on the shoulder with the machete. He was then shot in the back. Despite being wounded, Mr McDermott continued to try to escape.
Mr McElroy said: ‘As he ran, he heard a male – believed to be Gallacher – shouting “Reece, don’t”. There was then a second gunshot.’
Mr McDermott was hit again and forced to stop. Ms Butler and her dog had been nearby when the second shot was fired.After hearing her dog squeal, she scooped up her pet and ran off.
Mr McElroy told the court: ‘She realised that, while she had a relatively minor injury to her hand, her dog had been struck by the majority of the discharged shotgun pellets and had died.’
Gallacher was jailed in 2015 for ten years for culpable homicide. Govan was handed a six-and-a-half year sentence in 2016.
Both were remanded and will be sentenced next month in Stirling.
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