AN ex-soldier planted a tracking device in his ex-partner’s car so he could monitor her movements, a court heard.
Scott McNee, formerly of Kirkcaldy, drew on his Army training and his expertise in close personal protection in war zones to keep tabs on Sharon Carr without her knowledge.
He claimed that he was concerned for her safety because he feared she was meeting people to take drugs, Livingston Sheriff Court was told.
But when he turned up unexpectedly at a pub car park he discovered to his shock that she was cheating on him with her former boyfriend.
Miss Carr called the police after she learned McNee was still able to find her after she had disabled a ‘friends and family’ location app on her smartphone.
Officers searched her car and found a hidden global positioning system (GPS) device, which allowed the accused to monitor her movements via the internet.
Assistant procurator fiscal Deborah Demick said Miss Carr had arranged to meet “what could be described as ‘an old flame’” at a Beefeater restaurant in West Lothian for lunch.
She said: “The complainer was upset at the accused turning up unannounced. She didn’t make it into Beefeater, this happened in the car park.
“Some days prior to this there was a ‘chance’ bumping into each other which aroused her suspicions because he was turning up where she was, unwanted.
“It emerged that the accused was aware of her movements because of the tracking device he had put into her motor vehicle.
“A GPS tracker was subsequently unearthed by the police after she contacted them, so concerned was she by his behaviour.
“The accused was detained and he admitted purchasing the tracker and putting it in his ex partner’s car without her knowledge.”
McNee, 44, of Huntburn Avenue, Linlithgow, appeared for sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to stalking his ex between September 7 and 10 this year.
He committed the offence – aggravated by ‘involving abuse of an ex-partner’ – at addresses in Livingston and Bathgate, West Lothian, and at his former home in Cameron Drive, Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Iain Smith, in mitigation, admitted that McNee’s behaviour “appeared sinister at first blush”.
But he explained: “He was afraid she was taking drugs. What he didn’t suspect, and what he was horrified to find out, was that she was having an affair.
“That wasn’t the normal type of controlling behaviour that goes on. He says he took the device which was on his motorbike and put it into her car because he felt she may have been going and getting drugs.”
He claimed Miss Carr’s vehicle had been parked in an unusual place at Deer Park, Livingston on the day McNee turned up.
He added: “The chap was there. He didn’t smash him. He didn’t punch her. He didn’t shout and swear at her.
“When he did confront her he asked her what was going on and, seeing her in the arms of another, he turned tail – distraught – and left, and the relationship is now over.
“He found out the truth, that she’d been cheating on him behind his back.”
He went on: “He doesn’t really believe she’d have been as alarmed as had been suggested but she would have been upset because she had the right to a secret life if she’d chosen.
“His ingenuity may have been assisted by his prolonged period as a soldier in the Armed Forces for 15 years.
“Thereafter he was in close personal security both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps that didn’t assist his thought process. He accepts he’s done the wrong thing.”
Sheriff Kevin Drummond sentenced McNee to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work within nine months under a community payback order.
Passing sentence, he told the accused: “You claim to have done this out of concern for your then partner’s safety.
“That may be what you say, but I have to say that I agree with the author of the social enquiry report who expresses the view that this is extreme and controlling behaviour.
“Nonetheless, the relationship has now concluded and I consider I can deal with this by other than a custodial sentence.”