A man, who launched a verbal and physical attack on Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament, has been jailed for 18 months.
Thirty-nine year old Lee Peattie, a prisoner in Saughton, was found guilty by a jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week of two charges of breach of the peace committed on January 13 this year outside the property in Charlotte Square. Sentence was deferred until today.
Security staff had described in court how Peattie appeared on two occasions, shouting, gesticulating towards the house, banging on the front door with his fist and throwing coins at the property. He was also seen to pour some of the contents of a bottle of wine into the basement area. The incidents took place at around 4 pm and 9 pm. Staff, alarmed at Peattie’s behaviour, dialled 999 after the incidents. Following the second incident, Peattie was traced on CCTV to nearby Rutland Street and arrested.
Before the jury was present, Peattie shouted and swore at Sheriff Nigel Ross and was taken to the cells. Solicitor, John Good, was appointed to represent him.
Describing the first incident, Kirsteen Paterson, the Front of House Manager at Bute House said: “Coming up to twenty to four I started hearing a very aggressive and very raised voice, swearing and shouting”. Watching CCTV, Ms Paterson said she saw the man coming up the steps to the front door, banging on the door and then throwing coins at it. The man was shouting “Nicola”, “Nicola, are you in?” and “Is she in?”. The First Minister was not in the building at that time. Ms Paterson added: “I was quite alarmed. I just didn’t know what was going to happen and asked a colleague to contact the police”.
Peattie was bought up from the cells and when Ms Paterson identified him as the person causing the disturbance, he began shouting and swearing at her, calling her a liar. He was taken back to the cells and was never present during the trial again.
A security officer at another house in Charlotte Square, Andrew McIntyre, said he heard loud shouting after four o’clock. A man was walking towards Bute House, he said, shouting “SNP”, “Nicola Sturgeon”, “Alex Salmond”. “He was pointing his finger at the door, raising his arm and pointing at the window”. Mr McIntyre said the man came back around 9 pm, carrying a bottle and again shouting about the SNP, the NHS, being ill and something about a hospital.
Andrew Armitage, the overnight security officer at Bute House, told the court that around 9pm he heard a voice, getting louder and louder. “A gentleman appeared at the front door of the house and was making quite a racket” he said. “I was aware there had been a problem earlier in the day and it might be the same person. He was an angry man”. The man, he added, had a bottle in his hand.
He called the police, he said, because: “The First Minister was in residence and I didn’t want anything to happen”.
Police officers, who arrested Peattie, said that even before they could say anything to him, Peattie said: “Is this who Sturgeon’s sent now?”
Peattie’s previous convictions, include causing £12,000 of damage to stained glass windows in St Giles’ Cathedral and threatening to set fire to the National Portrait Gallery and smash all the windows in the Royal Scottish Academy, because staff would not pay him dole money.
Sheriff Nigel Ross sentenced Peattie to a year on the breach of the peace charges and six months for contempt of court. Told he had a chance to purge the contempt charge if he apologised, Peattie told the Sheriff: “I really am utterly sick to the back teeth with people looking down at me. You asked me for an apology. It’s not going to happen” and was led off to the cells whistling.