aTWO members of the Graham family, whose catalogue of anti-social behaviour led to them becoming known as the ''family from hell'', were sentenced for offences of violence yesterday.

James Graham, 21 and his brother Dean, 16, were led from the High Court in Edinburgh to begin terms of 15 months and 12 months for armed assaults involving a knife and a pair of scissors.

Dean smiled towards the public benches while James turned and made an obscene gesture.

James Graham's 15-month sentence will not begin until the expiry of a five-year term which was imposed in October 1994 after he crippled a young woman in a Christmas Eve hit-and-run accident in Fife.

As Ms Pauline McConnachie, 25, lay screaming for help, Graham abandoned the 2.8 litre Ford Capri he had stolen and went home to bed. Miss McConnachie's leg was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated.

Graham was released on licence in April last year after serving three-and-a-half years but his licence has now been revoked.

The Grahams were at the centre of an eviction battle in Glenrothes, Fife, during which neighbours told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court of the misery and fear the family had inflicted on them.

During the eviction process, the father, Gordon Graham, 39, appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1994 to contest a jail sentence imposed for a driving ban. The appeal failed after the court was shown a nine-page list of previous convictions, 10 relating to driving while disqualified.

The family moved from Fife to the North-east of Scotland, and settled in Fraserburgh but, in May last year, Mr Graham Sr was burned to death at the family home amid rumours the blaze had been started deliberately.

It broke out hours after members of the family, now living in Marconi Road, Fraserburgh, had been involved in a dispute with locals at a pizza shop.

At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, Lord MacLean, who had deferred sentence for background reports, was told the assault committed by James Graham was connected with the death of his father.

Graham admitted that between November and December 1998 he forced entry to a house in Kinnaird Road, Fraserburgh, occupied by Mr James Duthie and tried to strike him on the body with a knife.

Mr James Hughes, defence counsel, said that when Graham had been released from custody, he moved to the family home in Fraserburgh. After his father's death, Graham had gone to Mr Duthie's house to remonstrate with him because he believed he had been making derogatory comments about his father.

His forced his way into the house where the victim was laying a carpet with the aid of a Stanley knife. There was a struggle, Mr Duthie was knocked to the floor, and Graham retrieved the knife and tried to slash Mr Duthie.

Dean Graham admitted that on November 30 last year he forced his way into a house in Broad Street, Fraserburgh, and assaulted the occupier by holding scissors against his neck and head and threatening to cut off his ear. He also repeatedly demanded drugs from him.

Lord MacLean sentenced a co-accused, Joseph Martin, 21, to 15 months after Martin, described as a prisoner, admitted assaulting Mr Duthie with intent to rob him and a bail offence.