Perth prisoner attacks cellmate over ‘aggressive veganism’

The attack took place in Perth Prison
The attack took place in Perth Prison
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A prisoner who attacked his cellmate because he practised “an aggressive form of veganism” has been jailed for 12 months.

Duncan McLaren followed such a fundamentalist vegan lifestyle inside Perth Prison that it led to John Hutton punching and injuring him.

Mr McLaren’s extreme vegan views had made him hugely unpopular with other inmates and Hutton lasted just a fortnight before attacking him.

Sheriff William Wood said: “He had declared quite an aggressive form of veganism.”

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Mr McLaren’s lifestyle choice led to him throwing out dairy food items belonging to Hutton when they were delivered to the cell.

Solicitor Alistair Burleigh told the court: “He had become Mr Hutton’s cellmate. His aggressive form of veganism had led to some difficulties between them.

“That included the destruction of certain food items that had been brought into the cell for breakfast. He had been in the cell for two weeks.”

The court was told that McLaren was so “anti” dairy products that he would throw eggs and milk in the bin as soon as they were delivered to the cell. Hutton, 35, of Ann Street, Dundee, admitted attacking Mr McLaren in Perth Prison on 14 March last year by punching him on the face to his injury.

Fiscal depute John Malpass said: “The complainer was on the phone in the main hall. The accused was standing behind him and appeared to be waiting to use the phone.

“The complainer was on the phone for a while. A small argument ensued. The complainer turned and used one hand to push the accused away.

“The accused approached and punched him once in the face before being escorted away. He sustained a cut to his right eye and below his eyebrow. The incident was captured on CCTV.”

The court heard that Mr McLaren was very unpopular in the jail because he was a vegan and had fixed views about the use of milk and dairy products.

His solicitor said: “Nobody wished to share a cell with him. He was very vocal about his belief that there should be no milk or dairy products in his cell. He got upset if there were eggs in the cell.

“If eggs or milk were delivered he would put them straight into a bin. After two weeks my client went to the prison staff to say Mr McLaren was driving him crazy.”