Perthshire Advertiser

Suicidal man spat at cop who helped him

- COURT REPORTER

A disturbed Perth man, talked out of ending his own life, repaid the police officer who spoke to him by spitting in his face.

Twenty-four-year-old Daniel Sweeney, said to have “gone off the rails” after his mother committed suicide in February, is to be supervised for the next nine months.

He will also have to complete 120 hours of unpaid work as an alternativ­e to custody.

Sentence was deferred on two other charges, including a bungling break-in at a top Perth restaurant.

Sweeney, of High Street, admitted the assault on PC Andrew Barron, which took place on June 1, 2020, when he appeared at Perth Sheriff Court.

Solicitor Lee Qumsieh explained that June 1 was his mother’s birthday - and his client, who had been drinking, had also attempted suicide “on a number of occasions.”

Police had been alerted to “concerns” regarding Sweeney after he had gone to a spot beside a river “with the intention of taking his own life, given his state of mind as a direct result of his mother’s passing.

“They talked him down, as I understand it,” added Mr Qumsieh.

“The police officer had repeatedly referred to the accused’s mother and it’s his position the officer may have made a comment which he construed as being disrespect­ful to his mother.

“In the sober light of day, he’s not trying to excuse his behaviour, merely trying to explain why he behaved in such a despicable way.”

Imposing the Community Payback Order, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis commented: “There are ways of expressing yourself without emptying the contents of your mouth on the person.”

Sweeney’s progress on the unpaid work order will be reviewed on April 21, when he will also be sentenced for the break-in and theft of wine and beer from the No. 63 Tay Street restaurant, just yards from the sheriff court.

The court heard he left plenty of clues for police to follow on June 23, 2020.

There was a footprint on the sill, under an open window, and there were fingerprin­ts on the freshlyvar­nished bar area.

In addition, fingerprin­ts were also found on the outside of a window pane.

Sweeney, previously of Culliven Court, was traced by police and his shoes were seized.

Depute fiscal Kristina Kelly told the court: “They were a good match for the prints at the locus.

“He was interviewe­d and made a full and frank confession.”

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