A former Royal Navy serviceman has admitted threatening to shoot First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and bomb an SNP office in Angus during a near hour-long “rant” to a police call handler.
Andrew Cant said he would “take an axe” to the party’s Forfar premises and “destroy it, hopefully with people within” during the incident last November.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard the incident happened during a breakdown in the 44-year-old’s mental health. Cant’s solicitor said his client was “living the experience” of difficulties surrounding psychiatric provision in Tayside which were highlighted in a damning report released this week.
In another incident on January 7 this year, Cant verbally abused an ambulance call handler, threatened to smash a police vehicle with a road sign and threw a traffic cone at another unit after he was found walking in Arbroath in the early hours.
He has now been banned from entering any premises owned by the SNP or going within 50 yards of the party’s premises in Arbroath.
Cant, of Academy Street, Arbroath. appeared before Sheriff Derek Reekie at Forfar where he pled guilty to charges relating to the bomb threat and threatening Nicola Sturgeon with violence on November 3 last year.
He also admitted the other offence which happened in Dundee Road, Arbroath, near the town’s Asda store.
Depute fiscal Laura McGillvery said the accused had called 101 around 6.20am in the November incident to ask if they would contact psychiatric services on his behalf.
He became increasingly agitated, telling the handler: “There is an SNP office about five minutes walk from my house. I want to bomb that place, I want to take an axe to it and ******* destroy it, hopefully with people within it.
“And do you know why? They are traitors, they are guilty of treason,” he said.
Defence solicitor Nick Markowski told the court his client suffered from a bipolar disorder, adding: “It is a rant that got out of hand.”
He said Cant had deteriorated following the retirement of his consultant psychiatrist last summer.
“It has been reported that there is an issue with psychiatric services nationally and in Tayside and unfortunately Mr Cant is living that experience,” said Mr Markowski.
“The connection to the SNP in his mind is that the (Scottish) government is responsible for the NHS and it was being undermined because it was being badly run.
“He was in a state of agitation and this is part of his illness, that it can very quickly become panic.”
Sheriff Reekie told Cant: “Offences of this nature must be taken extremely seriously by the court and would ordinarily merit serious consideration of a custodial sentence.
“High profile members of the public are deserving of the full protection of the courts from this sort of threat.
“There are very particular circumstances in your case. I need to have some ability to assess risk and identify whether public protection can adequately be served within the community.”
Deferring sentence for a month, Sheriff Reekie warned Cant: “I make no promises over what the ultimate disposal will be.”