Roundabout feud lands dad in jail

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A father who rushed to his son’s aid as a “tit-for-tat” family feud came to a head on a busy main road roundabout has been jailed after he admitted violently assaulting his victim.

Christopher Niven and his family have been involved in a lengthy battle with David Beattie and his family over a period of months.

On February 13 last year his son, Gareth Niven, was driving in north-east Fife when he noticed he was being followed by Mr Beattie.

A trial at Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Mr Beattie then followed Niven Jr “round and round” a roundabout on the A91 road near St Andrews.

A fight then erupted when the cars stopped with Niven Jr and Mr Beattie trading blows.

Niven Sr then arrived on the scene with his partner and the father and son “got the better” of their victim - with Niven Sr landing kicks on the head of his victim.

A sheriff told him on Friday that jail was the “only option” given the level of violence.

Farm manager Gareth Niven avoided prison over his role in the fracas.

Christopher Niven (51) and Gareth Niven (25) both of Motray Crescent, Guardbridge, pleaded guilty on the second day of a jury trial on indictment to a charge of assault to injury.

A not guilty plea to a further charge that alleged Mr Beattie’s car was torched the following week by the Nivens was accepted by the Crown.

Defence solicitor Gary McIlravey, for Niven Sr, said: “There is clearly no love lost between the two families.

“He attended the locus with the best of intentions and fearing for the safety of his son and this happened.”

Douglas Williams, defending Niven Jr, added: “Gareth Niven called the police about the driving of the complainer but no-one attended.

“The complainer followed in his car and was repeatedly asked why he did that.

“Why did he go round and round and round the roundabout?

“The complainer accepts he was involved in a fight and gave as good as he got.

“When Mr Niven’s father arrived on the scene they got the better of him and he went to the ground.”

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Niven Sr for nine months and placed Niven Jr on a community payback order with 190 hours unpaid work and one year’s supervision.