A LATE-NIGHT rabbit-hunting trip turned into a terrifying ordeal for a Good Samaritan who was the victim of a violent car-jacking.
Marc Copeland had tried to help Andrew Smith, whose car had become stuck in mud in a Lochgelly public park at around 2 o’clock in the morning.
However, when the efforts to free the vehicle proved unsuccessful, Smith attacked his victim, smashing his glasses, then took his car keys.
Smith, 19, then drove Mr Copeland’s car at speed into his own vehicle in another attempt to free it.
Both cars were smashed up as a result then Smith ordered Mr Copeland to get into the passenger seat of his own vehicle, along with his dog.
Smith drove off in his victim’s car, crashing into a roundabout shortly afterwards.
Mr Copeland, 21, from Ballingry, then ran from his own car with his dog and hid in a garden to escape from Smith.
On trial before a jury at Dunfermline Sheriff Court was Smith, an inmate at Polmont Youth Offenders Institution.
He was found guilty of assaulting Mr Copeland on December 28 last year at Melville Street, Lochgelly.
He stated he was going to take his motor car, demanded Mr Copeland got out the car, punched him on the head, took the car keys and drove the car, all to his victim’s injury, and robbed him of the keys and the car.
He had admitted that he was driving as a provisional licence-holder without ‘L’ plates and without insurance.
Mr Copeland, a painter, told the court that he had been out ‘lamping’ for rabbits with his pet lurcher and a friend.
He was driving his car, a 16-plate Ford Fiesta, having just passed his test earlier that month.
Between 2-3am they came across Smith, whose car had become stuck in mud.
Smith, a complete stranger to them, asked for help but when the efforts to free his car failed, Mr Copeland drove to another part of the park.
However, Smith ran over to the car, pulled open the passenger door and ordered Mr Copeland’s 17-year-old friend to get out.
“Then I got out and got hit in the face by Andrew. My glasses were broken,” said Mr Copeland.
He said he had fought back but then Smith said he had a knife and grabbed the car keys from him.
“He was doing donuts on the grass then crashed my car into his. My car was wrecked at the front and the other car was the same, the bumper was off.”
The incident ended with Smith crashing the Fiesta and Mr Copeland running off and hiding.
Asked how he felt during the ordeal, Mr Copeland said: “Petrified”.
Sheriff Charles MacNair deferred sentence until May 9 for reports and Smith will remain in custody.