A VALE man has admitted violently assaulting a complete stranger on board a train – after accusing him of littering.

James Monaghan carried out the attack during a train journey towards Balloch last December.

A court hearing was told that Monaghan kneed his victim repeatedly in the head and left him screaming in pain after twisting his arm into “an unnatural position” during the journey between Partick and Balloch.

Monaghan, a resident of the Argyll Estate in Alexandria, pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week to a charge of assaulting his victim to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment.

The 65-year-old admitted seizing the other man by the arm, repeatedly twisting his arm around a handrail and repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body while keeping his arm restrained.

Fiscal depute Kevin Doherty told the November 26 court hearing that Monaghan got angry after his victim placed an empty Red Bull drinks can on the seat opposite him.

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Mr Doherty said: “The accused did not know the complainer, but seems to have had an immediate and hostile reaction to his presence on the train.

“There were other beer cans on the floor, and the accused aggressively challenged the complainer to clean up the cans, but the complainer said they were nothing to do with him.

“The complainer tried to get up to leave the train at Dalreoch, but the accused blocked him; the complainer felt humiliated and intimidated because the accused is considerably bigger than him.”

Monaghan told the accused “we’ll deal with this at Balloch”, and he and the complainer then sat back down in their seats.

But Mr Doherty said Monaghan reacted again after seeing the accused take out a multi-tool device to prepare a snack – which, he said, included cutting jalapeno peppers and spreading mayonnaise.

“The accused shouted ‘knife’ without warning, threat or provocation,” Mr Doherty continued, “and approached the complainer before punching him 10 times to the right eye and right jaw.

“He kicked the complainer to the face with force, and thereafter kneed him to the eye and jaw area as the complainer cowered down to protect himself.

“The accused appeared to be attempting to release the complainer’s grip on the multi-tool, and continued to slam and twist the complainer’s arm around a handrail.

“The complainer was screaming out in pain at this time, and was confused and disoriented.

“A witness could see the accused restraining the complainer and could see the complainer’s arm was in an unnatural position.

“The witness saw the accused kick the complainer in the face and could see the complainer had a swollen eye, which the witness described as ‘like a cricket ball’.

“The accused claimed the complainer was trying to stab him, but the complainer said he was trying to cut fruit and hadn’t done anything to behave in an aggressive or threatening manner towards the accused.”

Police boarded the train when it reached the terminus at Balloch and initially arrested the complainer before charging him with possession of the knife.

But Mr Doherty said that case was due to call later in December, when submissions will be made to the sheriff that the man should be given an absolute discharge.

The victim of Monaghan’s assault later received hospital treatment for a fractured elbow and a badly bruised eye socket.

Only after taking a statement from the victim and watching CCTV footage from on board the train did police go in search of Monaghan, who was eventually cautioned and charged on January 8.

Mr Doherty said the injuries sustained in the attack were still causing Monaghan’s victim “extreme pain” and had resulted in the loss of 30 degrees of movement in his arm.

Monaghan’s solicitor, Stephen McGuire, said: “He accepts that when the knife was produced it was not used in a way that was any threat to him or to anyone else on the train.

“He fully accepts the serious nature of the offence he has now admitted.”

Sheriff Frances McCartney deferred sentence for reports until January 9, when Mr McGuire will speak in more detail on behalf of his client.

Monaghan’s bail was continued.