A BOTCHED ATM raider who seriously injured an alleged accomplice in an explosion at a cash machine had his life sentence quashed today.

James Deeney, 50, was originally told he would face a minimum of 10 years in prison, but that was reduced to a seven year jail term on appeal on Friday.

Deeney was earlier convicted of a breach of the 1883 Explosives Substances Act by igniting gas introduced into a cash machine through a tube at Farmfoods, in Glasgow Road, in Clydebank.

Clydebank Post:

James Deeney has had his sentence reduced 

The ATM and the fabric of the building were damaged in the subsequent explosion and his alleged accomplice suffered brain damage.

He was also found guilty of causing the explosion on January 11 in 2018 with intent to steal in the same incident.

Deeney, formerly of Low Crescent, Clydebank, had denied being involved and claimed to police that he was in the area looking for his dog, but was found guilty after a trial last year.

Members of the public called emergency services and the blast victim was taken to hospital.

Judge Michael O'Grady QC imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on him with a 10 year minimum term at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The judge told him: "It is abundantly clear you had no regard whatever for the dreadful risk this posed to entirely innocent members of the public."

He added: "I dread to think what might have been the fate of anyone else who happened by. You showed an utterly wicked indifference to the life and limb of others."

But Deeney appealed against his sentence maintaining that there had been "an error in law" in the view the sentencing judge took that a mandatory life sentence applied to the Explosive Substances Act charge.

He also contended that a 10-year prison term was excessive given his background and other cases for such offending.

Defence counsel Niall McCluskey told judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh: "It has to be accepted at the outset that the offence was very serious. It is a matter of great public concern."

But he said Deeney had a limited criminal record, had never previously served a prison sentence and stayed out of trouble for 15 years prior to the offence.

He said it was now accepted that the offence did not carry with it a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, rather that was the maximum sentence that could be imposed.

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Lord Turnbull, who heard the appeal with Lord Glennie, said Deeney was convicted of serious criminal conduct which the trial judge had observed was premeditated and intended to obtain financial benefit.

The appeal judge added: "In the present case the appellant displayed a breathtaking disregard for public safety."

Lord Turnbull said they accepted the submission, which was supported by the Crown, that the sentencing judge proceeded under "a misapprehension" over the issue of the mandatory life sentence.

He said they had decided that the sentence imposed had to be quashed and substituted a seven-year jail term.