Threatened to ‘slay’ woman with sword

Cupar Sheriff Court.
Cupar Sheriff Court.

A young officer cadet subjected a 55 year-old woman to a terrifying ordeal during a bizarre incident in which he pointed a sword at her and threatened to ‘slay’ her, a court has heard.

Hamish McGregor had been boozing with other cadets in St Andrews when he knocked on the woman’s door at 1am and told her to ‘stand and deliver’.

When she went to call the police he smashed her living-room window with the three-foot weapon and stuck the top half of his body through the hole.

It eventually took several blows from a police baton to make him drop it.

At Cupar Sheriff Court last Thursday, McGregor (21) was spared jail by Sheriff William Wood.

He was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work and pay his victim £400 in compensation.

McGregor, of 53 Lade Braes, St Andrews, had earlier admitted that on November 13 this year at Cammo Lodge, City Road, St Andrews, he brandished a sword and repeatedly struck a window with it, causing it to smash; made threats of violence towards Jennifer Cooper; attempted to enter the premises through a smashed window and refused to release the sword when repeatedly requested to do so by the police.

The court heard that McGregor, a geology student at St Andrews University, had been at a training session at the Officer Cadet Training Corps and went to the mess afterwards. They left when the bar closed at 11.45am but he became separated from the others.

“The complainer resides in a ground floor flat approximately 100 yards away,” said depute fiscal Joanne Smith.

“At about 1am she heard a person knocking loudly at her living-room window. When she looked out, she saw the accused about a metre away.

“He was in possession of a sword and began shouting words to the effect ‘stand and deliver.’

“She dialled 999 and drew the curtains back to await the police arriving.”

The accused continued to shout and it was then that he smashed the window.

“She attempted to communicate with him, repeatedly asking him to leave,” continued Ms Smith.

“The accused was heard to shout and rant, all the while leaning in through the window and still in possession of the sword.

“She asked him if he would like a glass of water so she could re-dial the police, and when she returned to the living-room to give it to him the accused pointed the sword at her and saying he intended to slay her.”

Ms Smith said the phone line was left open and police could hear him shouting in the background, again telling her he was going to slay her.

The police arrived moments later and she tried to pull the sword from him, but he refused to let go. He had to be hit three or four times on the hand with a baton before he dropped it.

It was later established that the weapon was an infantry sword that had been taken from a sheath in the OTC premises.

It was not razor sharp but because of its weight and size it was ‘extremely imposing.’

McGregor’s solicitor Douglas Williams described the incident as ‘bizarre’ and ‘completely out of character’ McGregor had immediately written a personal letter of apology to Ms Cooper, who he said had reacted with ‘remarkable poise’ in frightening circumstances.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Wood commented that while he acknowledged that young trainee officers indulged in ‘high jinks’, at some point ‘the game had to stop.’