Strongman called ‘The Machine’ tried to kill sister’s boyfriend in street attack

A finalist in Britain's Strongest Man has been jailed for six years after attempting to murder his sister's boyfriend when a domestic abuse trial collapsed.

Strongman powerlifter John Pollock, 45, caused life-threatening injuries to Michael Barbour following a "ferocious" street attack.

Barbour, who was accused of terrorising Pollock's sister Margaret, had had a string of domestic abuse charges dropped against him months earlier, the Daily Record reports.

Pollock, also known as The Machine, competed in front of 8000 people in Sheffield last year in the Britain's Strongest Man final which was aired on Channel 5.

He was sentenced by judge Lady Scott at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Jailing Pollock, Lady Scott said: “This was a ferocious attack and as you have accepted in your plea it amounts to the crime of attempted murder.”

She added: “On immediate admission to intensive care your victim was found to have multiple fractures to face and jaw bones and the partial collapse of both lungs.

“Most significantly he has been left with significant brain damage.

“For many weeks his family were repeatedly told he would be very unlikely to survive. Your victim will never recover full health.”

Pollock had a serious conviction for violence from 1997, the court heard.

Pollock had reportedly once been pals with Barbour, but a series of incidents and threats between the two men led to the attack.

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In September Pollock pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to attempting to murder Barbour.

He admitted carrying out an attack which left the 43-year-old scarred for life and disabled.

Violence erupted in Ayrshire town's Sloan Avenue on July 15, 2020, the court heard.

Pollock swore and shouted at his victim before unleashing a series of punches on his head and body, knocking him to the ground.

Once his victim was on the ground, Pollock repeatedly kicked and stamped on Barbour's head.

It is understood that Barbour had faces 14 domestic abuse charges during his 12-year relationship with Pollock's sister Margaret.

The case saw Barbour plead guilty to two charges – an assault on Margaret and one on her 19-year-old son.

The businessman admitted assaulting Margaret and spitting on her face in January 2017 and slapping her son the same month.

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Other charges were dropped following evidence given by a prosecution witness.

Barbour was fined £1000 for the offences and was later convicted of another incident involving Margaret – which involved him shouting and swearing at her.

Pollock is a well-known figure in the strongman industry and was among 13 athletes in the Britain's Strongest Man final.

He was behind bars awaiting trial when the event aired on television screens across Christmas time.

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The strongman reportedly flipped when he discovered the majority of Barbour's domestic abuse charges had been dropped.

One insider said previously: “Police in the area knew there was a problem between Pollock and Barbour. They were well aware of the tensions between them after the domestic abuse trial.

“Pollock saw Barbour on his way home from the gym one night and just attacked him.

“His injuries were so bad that his family thought he was going to die.”

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