Man jailed for three years for assault at New Year house party

Keith Hemsley
Keith Hemsley

A Fife man has been jailed for a brutal assault in which the victim sustained horrific “holes in his face” and was left with permanent scars.

The attack took place at a New Year’s Day party in Kirkcaldy hosted by Paul Lawlor, who spent four days in hospital as a result.

He was hit over the head with a glass vase, knocked unconscious and repeatedly kicked in the face by the steel toe-capped boots of Keith Hemsley, who claimed he was acting in self-defence.

At Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Friday, father-of-three Hemsley (25), was found guilty of the assault by a jury and jailed for three years.

Prior to the violence erupting, Hemsley had been goading Mr Lawlor, accusing him of having a “tiny penis”.

The host responded by taking his penis out and he said Hemsley, whose partner was also at the party, later told him he felt “humiliated”.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Lawlor said he was suddenly punched in the face by Hemsley.

In the early hours of January 1, Hemsley had gone to the home of Mr Lawlor in Links Road, Kirkcaldy, where a small party was taking place.

Mr Lawlor (47), told the court there had been some comments about penis sizes which did not help the atmosphere in the house.

“He said I had a tiny penis and so I showed the world I didn’t have a tiny penis. I dispelled that myth straight away. He was trying to be funny but it wasn’t hitting the mark,” said Mr Lawlor.

Mr Lawlor said he was struck in the face twice that he could remember before passing out. He believed the weapon used was a screwdriver.

Mr Lawlor’s girlfriend Vicky Cameron had gone out of the house for a short time with Hemsley’s partner to go to an all-night shop.

Ms Cameron (47), told the court that as she returned, Hemsley was leaving the flat. He told her that he had “left Paul mangled in a heap”.

She said she found her partner with “holes in his face”, his lip was torn and he was covered in blood.

“I thought he was going to die that night,” she added.

Ms Cameron said she then “lost it”, picked up a knife and went after Hemsley. She said she could not remember stabbing him but thought she “must have done”.

The jury found Hemsley guilty of assaulting Paul Lawlor by repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body and striking him on the face with a glass vase whereby he was rendered unconscious, all to his injury and permanent disfigurement.

Sheriff Charles Macnair said, “This was a sustained and vicious attack which involved kicking the complainer with what you described to police as your ‘steelies’. Your attitude to violence comes through loud and clear in your police interview.”

Hemsley is currently a prisoner at Perth serving a sentence for another offence, which is due to end this month. He will serve this new three-year sentence consecutive to his current term.