Procurator fiscal ‘stalker’ gets 12-month order

Lanark Sheriff Court. Picture: Johnston Press
Lanark Sheriff Court. Picture: Johnston Press
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A MAN who stalked a former procurator fiscal and his wife has been banned from contacting the couple.

Gary Anderson, 54, harassed prosecutor Stewart Houston and his wife Christel for more than a year after becoming convinced they had sided with his former wife during his divorce.

“Knocked on the window demanding a meeting”

Depute Fiscal Paul Service

Anderson had moved into the same street as the Houstons in Biggar, Lanarkshire, in 2002 but moved when he split from his wife Patricia in 2006.

Mr Houston, 67, retired from his position at Lanark Sheriff Court in 2008 after a successful career spanning 26 years. He had prosecuted hundreds of cases and was jokingly nicknamed the ‘Prince of Darkness’ by defence lawyers.

Both couples had remained friends, although the ­Houstons maintained more regular ­contact with Mrs Anderson.

But as the divorce became increasingly bitter, Anderson, of Cartland, ­Lanarkshire, began plaguing his former neighbours with texts and letters.

The alarmed couple called in police in 2012 but he continued to pester them.

Anderson had earlier ­appeared at Lanark ­Sheriff Court and admitted causing the ­Houstons fear and alarm by repeatedly texting, repeatedly sending letters, and going to their home uninvited between January 2012 and April 2013.

He was admonished yesterday after staying out of trouble for a year but was handed a 12-month non-harassment order banning him from contacting the Houstons.

The court heard Anderson had no intention of returning to Biggar.

Depute fiscal Paul Service told an earlier hearing that ­Anderson believed that his ex-wife was confiding in the Houstons about their divorce and passing on ­details about custody of their two sons.

He said: “Mrs Houston ­received messages on her ­mobile from Mr Anderson in January 2012.

“The messages were not threatening but were enough for the couple to contact police because of the repeated requests for meetings with Mr Houston.

“Two letters also appeared at the couple’s property which had been hand-delivered by Mr ­Anderson, who was then living 14 miles away from them.

“Anderson also appeared at the couple’s home at night when Mrs Houston was alone and knocked on the window demanding a meeting with her husband, which alarmed her.”

Police warned Anderson off in December 2012 but in March the following year he wrote to them and sent flowers with the message: “I apologise, things must change.” Sheriff Paul Reid told Anderson he had behaved “impeccably” since his conviction and said that he understood the incidents had happened while Anderson was going through “a very difficult time in his life”.

Sheriff Reid had previously told him: “These were circumstances that you misunderstood and overreacted to. This is not the way you should have ­behaved.”

Speaking after he retired, Mr Houston, said: “I’m lucky enough to be able to look back on my ­career with absolutely no ­regrets.

“I’m not sure about the ‘Prince of Darkness’ nickname. I’d like to think it is tongue in cheek.”