Chainsaw-wielding OAP, 76, guilty of six charges
A 76-YEAR- OLD retired police officer ‘set himself up as the policeman of Ballachulish’, Sheriff William Taylor QC said on Monday at Fort William Sheriff Court.
He then intimidated people, the sheriff added.
He found Thomas Allan Kirsop, of Brudair, North Ballachulish, guilty of six charges, including swinging a chainsaw with its engine running while staring at neighbours, uttering threats and shouting offensive remarks; staring at the head teacher of the village primary school in an intimidating manner; engaging in conduct which caused a husband and wife fear and alarm by following the wife’s car, pulling alongside; banging into her at the village primary school; sending an anonymous letter containing a news- paper clipping and placing signs with an offensive slogan on a boundary fence.
The offences took place between January 1, 2015, and May 29, 2016, and were said to have followed a falling out within an extended family circle.
Kirsop was also found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner on September 7, 2014, outside an Onich address by shouting, swearing and uttering offensive remarks towards the householder; repeatedly parking outside a local village store and staring at the occupants in an intimidating manner; and on August 28, 2015, in Glenahulish, shouting, swearing and uttering offensive remarks to a man who lived there. None of these offences was related.
Sheriff Taylor had heard the prosecution and defence cases previously and on Monday June 12 he heard the closing submissions of procurator fiscal Ross Carvel and Kirsop’s solicitor Clare Russell before delivering his verdict of guilty.
In reaching this decision, Sheriff Taylor said he had taken into account the Moorov doctrine, where a number of offences witnessed by only one person can be grouped together to show a pattern of behaviour and then could be used in a court case in Scottish law.
The procurator fiscal said Kirsop had not given evidence.
This was only given by his wife and daughter and their evidence was not credible.
The sheriff said: ‘His wife would have come and told the court black was white if it was going to get her husband off these charges,’ adding that the daughter’s evidence was ‘a case of over-acting’.
In Kirsop’s defence, his solicitor said: ‘ While she [his wife] was a very nervous witness, she was an extremely credible and reliable witness.’ She added that his daughter was very upset about her father being accused.
Kirsop had never been in trouble before, his solicitor said. He and his close family have lived in Ballachulish for years without any trouble and then his daughter’s sister-in-law and her family moved in next door.
Sentence was deferred until July 17 for community justice and social work reports to be prepared on Kirsop. Sentence was also deferred on three other bail-related charges to which Kirsop had previously pleaded guilty.