A CLYDEBANK man who targeted a woman in the town’s shopping centre during a random attack has been spared jail.

Colin Boal, of Clyde Court, Dalmuir, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing on Friday after being found guilty at an earlier trial of assaulting the woman in Sylvania Way South on January 9.

Boal, 42, attempted to punch the woman in an unprovoked act of violence.

Boal’s solicitor, Philip Lafferty, told last week’s hearing: “The concern in this case is not so much the level of violence, which was low on any view, but the random nature and the alarm which was caused to the victim.”

“It was very much unplanned. It was spontaneous.

“He was taken by surprise and it was an accidental coming together.”

Mr Lafferty added: “For all the alarming elements to this case, and Mr Boal’s circumstances, it is still the case that he has a very limited record, and that should give the court some comfort.

“Generally speaking, he has been able to behave.”

Sheriff Gallacher ordered that Boal be placed under social workers’ supervision for 18 months.

He must also pay the victim £100 in compensation, to be paid at a rate of £10 per week.

Sheriff Gallacher added: “That [financial compensation] will have the effect of focusing his mind that this is not acceptable conduct at all.”

Turning to address Boal directly, the sheriff said: “What you did to this young woman as she was going about her business was utterly unacceptable.

“I hope that this will bring an end to this.

“If you are in court again, you will find that the balance will not be in your favour.”

The sheriff said the community payback order was issued as a direct alternative to custody.