Angry voter who chased Labour councillor with chainsaw escapes prison

Conrad Procter. Picture: Watchtower/Stewart Robertson

Conrad Procter. Picture: Watchtower/Stewart Robertson

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An irate voter has been spared jail for threatening to kill a Labour councillor and chasing him down the street with a running chainsaw while the politician was on the campaign trail.

Conrad Procter, 40, shouted abuse at Labour councillor Paul O’Kane, 28, while he was out campaigning for former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy - telling him he would “cut his head off”.

Sheriff Seith Ireland said he had “troublesome attitudes” but let him walk free from court after saying he had “come very close to going to custody”.

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Tempers flared when Councillor O’Kane was canvassing in Procter’s home street in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, on April 6 last year during the build up to last year’s General Election.

Giving evidence about the ordeal, Councillor O’Kane said: “I heard some shouting about the Labour Party. ‘Red Tories! Get out of here!’ and ‘no-one wants to speak to you!’

“The voice was aggressive. I saw the gentleman in his garden. I walked a few doors down.

“He was holding an electric chainsaw. He turned it on. He held it aloft.”

Labour Party campaigner Christopher Quinn, 23, said Procter armed himself with the running chainsaw, left his garden and pursued them down the street.

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Procter denied behaving in a threatening or abusive manner which was likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm but he was convicted following a trial at Paisley Sheriff Court last month and sentence was deferred for him to be assessed by social workers.

When he returned to the dock to learn his fate, defence solicitor Raymond McIlwham described his client’s conduct on the day in question as “unusual and very serious.”

He added: “He accepts involvement in this incident but he continues to dispute that any persons were pursued down the street - what he disputes is any movement by him outwith his garden area. He’s not stupid and fully appreciates how serious this is.”

Sheriff Seith Ireland placed Procter on a 12-month Community Payback Order as a direct alternative to custody, he said: “Everyone’s political views must be respected.”

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