£800 fine for strangling woman in an Oban pub
A BUS driver has been fined £800 for ‘a moment of madness’ in which he strangled a woman in an Oban pub.
Gavin McKeating, 42, of 7 Kerelaw Road, Stevenston, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Tracy Gilmour by seizing her by the throat and pushing her against a wall at an Oban bar on January 5 this year, and pleaded a special defence of self-defence.
A barman, Andrew Duncan, told Oban Sheriff Court on Wednesday July 19 he heard ‘some banging’ outside in the vestibule and, on opening the door, saw a man ‘strangling’ a woman with both hands.
‘She was really scared,’ Mr Duncan said. ‘I could see that she was trying to push him away. The second I opened the door he let go and ran away.’
A second woman with ‘red hair’, he recounted, shouted to the man to come back but he replied: ‘I am not coming back or I will get done.’
‘I believe there was an incident later between the woman with red hair and the woman who was being strangled,’ Mr Duncan continued. ‘By the time I had phoned the police a fight had kicked off.’
Ms Gilmour told the court McKeating ‘was acting aggressively. I remember the man going out for a cigarette. I said to the girl I would go out to talk to him. I remember saying I can calm him down.’ She recalled telling him ‘I do not want any trouble’, and his response: ‘I do not give a ****.’
‘I remember getting rattled against the door and then I remember him strangling me,’ she said.
Ms Gilmour’s attitude had changed, McKeating said, when he told her he was with his fiancée. ‘I think she got the knockback and it got nasty,’ he said. ‘She got a bit nasty in her comments: I was not a proper Scotsman because I was with a foreign woman [and] she was only with myself because of my money. I asked her to leave. I decided to go out and have a cigarette to get away from her.
‘She went for me, like a cat’s claw into my face. I put my hands up to stop her, but I was intoxicated and pushed her back. Not grabbed her by the neck – more on the chest to push her away. ’
McKeating’s fiancée said in the witness box she saw him outside with ‘scratchings and blood’, and asked him what happened: ‘She attacked me,’ he replied.
Procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty said: ‘Rather than staying outside to help him you went back inside to attack this lady. A minute later you punch her in the face. Why did you not go to the police? Is it not the case you were worried about police involvement because you were both involved in being aggressive?’ McKeating’s fiancée shook her head.
Ms Gilmour denied defence agent Kevin McGinness’s suggestion that: ‘ You intended to continue your obnoxious and unpleasant behaviour and that is why you went outside.’
Sheriff Patrick Hughes said: ‘To a degree, all the evidence has had a self-serving element, except Mr Duncan’s. I find his evidence compelling. If Mr Duncan’s evidence were not in this trial, I would be in reasonable doubt.
‘There has been a degree of confrontation and aggression from the complainer. I accept some kind of injury was involved but that was through her selfdefence. I am not without sympathy. It seems like a good night out wasted by drink. It seems to be a moment of madness.’