Naked pensioners trash luxury hotel in late night rampage

Robert and Ruth Fergus leave court. 
Picture: Perthshire Picture Agency
Robert and Ruth Fergus leave court. Picture: Perthshire Picture Agency
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A pair of pensioners caused chaos and destruction during a late night naked rampage at a luxury Perthshire hotel.

Staff at the hotel were so scared of the elderly couple they fled for their lives and ran two miles on foot to the safety of the nearest village.

The MacDonald Rannoch hotel in Perth.

The MacDonald Rannoch hotel in Perth.

Retired chartered surveyor Robert Fergus, 72, was completely naked as he ran amok with a pair of scissors in the public reception of the MacDonald Loch Rannoch Hotel.

His 69-year-old wife Ruth was sporting just a nightie as she threatened to gun down staff members as the couple’s weekend break ended with both in police cells.

Mr Fergus - a school charity fundraiser and rugby club committee member - picked up a restaurant sign and smashed a window pane with it.

He then used the scissors to slash communications cables at the reception and was eventually caught drunk at the wheel of his £65,000 BMW.

He sat shame-faced in the dock at Perth Sheriff Court on Thursday as the couple were described as being “out of control” during the bizarre episode.

Fergus was fined a total of £2,750 and ordered to pay the hotel £800 compensation to cover the cost of the damage he caused on 4 February this year.

He admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner with a pair of scissors, while shouting, swearing and threatening violence towards Scott and Marcelene Glen, Tomasz Baraonnski and Julia Titkova.

He also admitted wilfully destroying property by smashing a pane of glass and causing extensive damage to servers by cutting cables. He was banned from driving for a year for being around twice the legal limit as he and his wife fled from the hotel.

Mrs Fergus, who was not present in court yesterday, was fined £1,350 for causing fear or alarm at the hotel by threatening guests and staff with violence.

Fiscal depute Michael Sweeney told the court: “They were resident in the hotel and were seen to be intoxicated at 5pm. At 1.45am Scott Glen was woken by banging on his hotel room door.

“He saw Ruth Fergus in the hallway. He noticed she was intoxicated and appeared confused. She began shouting ‘are you being f***ing funny?’”

Mr Glen went to reception to tell staff and at that point Mr Fergus appeared with no clothes on and began hurling foul-mouthed abuse at the staff and guests in the foyer.

“Both accused were acting as if they were out of control. He was observed to have a pair of scissors. Mrs Fergus said: ‘I’m going to get a gun and shoot you,’ at Miss Titkova.

“On seeing the scissors, Miss Titkova shouted at the other staff and guests to run. They saw Mr Fergus pick up a sign and smash a glass pane in the door with it.”

Fergus then stormed through the foyer telling witnesses he would “slit” and “kill” them. Staff and guests ran from the hotel towards the village of Kinloch Rannoch in Highland Perthshire.

Almost two hours after the start of the incident, the couple were pulled over by police on the B846 near Tummel Bridge and he was found to be well over the legal limit.

Fergus claimed during interview that the couple’s “lives were in danger from hotel staff” but CCTV footage showed clear evidence of the unprovoked rampage they had carried out.

Solicitor Ewan Cameron, for Mr Fergus, said: “This was a thoroughly unfortunate and undoubtedly terrifying series of events for the complainers. He is a 72-year-old man with no previous convictions and this appears hugely uncharacteristic on his part.

“He consumed much more alcohol than was sensible. He retired to bed but was roused by his wife who said she had been on the receiving end of hostility from hotel staff.

“He reacted disproportionately by going to reception to confront them. His memory is somewhat hazy. He was responsible, in a fit of pique, for vandalising the property.

“Until retirement he was a chartered surveyor and has contributed much to society. He was a senior committee member of the local rugby club and fundraiser for a school for disabled children.

“He is a financially comfortable man who realises he must make amends for the wrongdoing he inflicted on people just doing their jobs and on holiday themselves.”

Mr Cameron said his client had suffered a heart attack in 2007 and would not be able to exert himself for unpaid community work - but he conceded that he had “exerted himself” on the night of the incident.

Solicitor Pauline Cullerton, for Mrs Fergus, said her client had a hiatus hernia and had reacted badly to the alcohol she drank because she had eaten little during the day.

“There was an exchange of words with a member of staff, who made an insulting remark towards Mrs Fergus, and that was the catalyst which started the argument which then got out of hand.”

Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “I don’t think I need to tell you it’s a very sorry state of affairs. It gives me no pleasure to see a man of your age, history and record of employment in the dock.

“I have no doubt you will regret it for the rest of your life. You caused hotel staff considerable concern due to the nature of the threats and the extend of the damage you carried out.”

Fergus, Balcomie Terrace, Troon - who previously worked for global engineering company Amec Foster Wheeler - refused to comment as he left court.