The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Prison officer’s angry online rants stunned colleagues, court told

Man admits his offensive comments were religiousl­y motivated

- Mark Mackay

A Perth prison officer could be facing career ruin after spouting religious hatred on a social media site.

Daniel Cochrane stunned colleagues with an “ill-tempered” Facebook rant in which he angrily attacked people of multiple religions.

Perth Sheriff Court heard he had railed against “Muslim terrorist b ****** s” before being taken to task by others involved in the conversati­on.

Cochrane, of Perth, admitted sending messages of a grossly offensive nature to Facebook on January 8 this year, in that he made comments that were religiousl­y motivated.

Sheriff William Wood told him: “Those who work in the public service must be held to the highest standards.

“I am deferring sentence for reports, not because a custodial sentence is uppermost in my mind but because I think there may be issues that need to be addressed and because your employment status may be dependent on the outcome of this case.”

Cochrane will return to court for sentencing on June 7.

One colleague told him it was “grossly offensive” that he was grouping all members of one religion together and suggested he visit a mosque to learn the error of his ways.

When he followed up his earlier comment with a similar attack, this time on “Catholic terrorist b ****** s”, his workmates reacted in horror once again.

He was told: “It is incredibly ironic that you talk about Muslims spreading hate when hate is exactly what you are spreading with posts like this.”

The 57-year-old later removed the posts after calming down and realising they were “ill-tempered and wrong”.

He said he had been “embarrasse­d and ashamed” and blamed his “angry rant” on feelings that spilled over from hearing of a story in which a Muslim man was shot and killed by police officers on the M62 in West Yorkshire in January.

Colleagues, however, had been appalled by his words and at least one spoke to prison authoritie­s the following morning.

The Scottish Prison Service subsequent­ly contacted the police, who interviewe­d prison staff and took screenshot­s of Cochrane’s messages.

During an interview with officers, he admitted he had become “incredibly angry” during the conversati­on but had never intended to cause offence.

Depute fiscal Nicola Gillespie read from a transcript of the interview, in which Cochrane said: “I remember something about a guy being shot on the M62 by the police and it made me incredibly angry.

“I may have put down something like ‘Why do Muslims think they are above the law’.

“Somebody put something about hating Muslims. I was angry and my comments became an angry rant.

“I remember saying something about hating Muslim terrorists and Catholic terrorists.

“I was told that my comments were a bit racist.

“That was not my intention but I understood that they could perhaps have been seen that way.

“I removed the post as I thought it had been ill-tempered and wrong.”

I was told that my comments were a bit racist. That was not my intention

 ??  ?? Daniel Cochrane’s angry rants on Facebook landed him an appearance at Perth Sheriff Court.
Daniel Cochrane’s angry rants on Facebook landed him an appearance at Perth Sheriff Court.

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