An Auchterarder chef stalked a former colleague 20 years younger than him for weeks, claiming she was his wife, without ever tracing her.
The woman only found out Robert MacDonald had been knocking on doors trying to find her after he was apprehended and he told officers at West Bell Street Station in Dundee he wanted her made aware of his arrest.
MacDonald, 42, had previously worked with the woman when he had been a chef at Auchterarder Golf Course in 2017.
After four years without contact, MacDonald arrived at the golf course looking for her with a kitchen knife in the back pocket of his jeans.
She no longer worked at he club.
At Perth Sheriff Court, Fiscal Depute Joanne Ritchie explained MacDonald had not contacted the 22-year-old since he left his job at the club at the end of 2017.
Ms Ritchie said: “The complainer explained to police she was just a co-worker but known to the accused during his employment there.
“They did not stay in touch after the accused left his employment there.”
At around 11pm on May 7 and again the following day at 6am, he visited a house in Auchterarder, looking for his former colleague.
She did not live there.
MacDonald later messaged her several times on social media, with no response.
At around 6.15pm on May 10, MacDonald then attended at a second house, also in Auchterarder.
He knocked on the door and asked if the woman lived at the address.
Ms Ritchie said the householder “found the accused’s manner to be strange but thought nothing more.”
At around 1pm on May 13, MacDonald attended the first house again and asked if the woman lived there.
He said he was his victim’s husband and wanted to find her.
He added that “something big was going on in Auchterarder” and “she should come home as he would be returning with police.”
The householder, who had explained she was the property’s first resident, was “alarmed” and contacted police.
At 10pm that night, MacDonald was witnessed by the town’s golf club car park.
The witness, who was not named in court, found this to be strange but did not interact with him.
Other people were present as the golf club was emptying for the night and MacDonald left after a few minutes.
On May 17, MacDonald returned to the second house at around 11.15pm and woke its owner by knocking on her door, leaving her “alarmed”.
He walked up and down the path for a few minutes, then left.
She contacted police again the next morning.
Caught on CCTV
On May 18, MacDonald made his way back to Auchterarder golf course.
At around 12.45pm, he attracted the attention of a member of staff who recognised him.
MacDonald asked if his ex-colleague was there but the employee said she did not work there anymore.
He left, before returning at 10pm. An employee saw MacDonald near the front door and told him he was not welcome.
MacDonald left but three days later returned, armed.
At around 12.30pm on May 21, he made his way into the clubhouse towards the kitchen.
Again he was told to leave but he said he’d return in a few minutes.
His demeanour was described in court as being “calm” but witnesses were concerned enough to phone police.
Staff viewed CCTV and spotted a metal kitchen knife poking out of the right-hand back pocket of his jeans.
They told police who traced him at his mother’s home less than half an hour later.
She answered the door and MacDonald was found to be in possession of the blade.
He was taken to Dundee Police Station and charged, before officers asked if there was anyone he’d like notified of his arrest.
MacDonald told them he wanted his stalking victim alerted.
This was the first time she became aware of his stalking campaign.
Sheriff brands behaviour ‘bizarre’
MacDonald previously pled guilty to engaging in a course of conduct likely to cause the woman fear and alarm between May 7 and 24.
He admitted to sending her social media messages, repeatedly attending at her former workplace and repeatedly attending other addresses to attempt to ascertain her whereabouts.
MacDonald, of St John’s Place, Auchterarder, also admitted having a knife at Orchil Road on May 24.
His defence solicitor Billy Somerville said: “Clearly it is very bizarre behaviour.”
Mr Somerville said unemployed MacDonald had been depressed and had been given tablets to help him sleep by a friend, which had had a different effect.
Sheriff Keith O’Mahoney branded the campaign as “really bizarre behaviour” and ordered MacDonald to complete 160 hours of unpaid work and placed him under supervision for a year.
He also ordered MacDonald not to contact or attempt to contact the woman for three years.