A BRUTE attacked a Neilston woman so violently in front of her eight-year-old son that the child armed himself with a weapon to protect her.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard how the boy grabbed a telescope in a bid to ward off Christopher Mulligan.

The details emerged when 34-year-old Mulligan appeared in the dock to be sentenced over the case.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges – behaving in a threatening or abusive way, placing the mum and her son, neither of whom can be named for legal reasons, in a state of fear and alarm, and assaulting the woman.

Procurator fiscal depute Pamela Brady told the court how the victim was at home on the evening of March 9 this year when she was disturbed by loud banging at her front door.

When she looked out of a window, she spotted Mulligan and went to speak to him.

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He claimed he had left something in her car that he needed, so she opened the vehicle, but he then began pulling items out of the boot and throwing clothes into her front garden.

Mulligan, whose behaviour had left the boy in tears, then made his way inside the house.

Mrs Brady said: “The child was fearful and frightened and wanted his mother to hold him.

“He tried to place his arms around his mother and the accused grabbed her by the hair and pulled her onto the floor.

“This was, clearly, all in front of the already terrified eight-year-old child.

“He was so frightened he found a telescope and picked it up as a means to protect his mother from the accused.”

The woman phoned the police and, when officers arrived, they found the child in the hallway “in a very distressed state.”

His mum was seen to have been left “very frightened and agitated” by what had happened.

Mulligan, of Carnwadric, Glasgow, was found hiding in the back garden.

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew slammed Mulligan’s behaviour on the night in question, describing it as “reprehensible.”

He made Mulligan the subject of a Non-Harassment Order, which bans him from approaching or contacting the woman in any way for the next three years.

Sheriff Pettigrew also placed him on a Community Payback Order (CPO), which will see him supervised by social workers for 18 months and returning to court next year for a review of his progress.