Death-threat terror of Doctor Who designer after car brake pipes cut

A DOCTOR Who designer was sent death threats after having her car brakes cut by a disgruntled electrician in a row over a £5,000 bill.

Morag McLean, a BBC set designer who has worked in Hollywood, received the terrifying letter from Andrew Small shortly after he was freed from jail for sabotaging her cars.

He wrongly believed the sculptress owed him money for work on her property and took revenge, threatening to kill her.

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Small cut the brake cables on both Mrs McLean and her husband's cars. She later crashed one of the vehicles that he had tampered with.

Perth Sheriff Court heard yesterday that Small had been jailed for eight months but still held a grudge against Mrs McLean when eventually released.

Fiscal depute Stuart Richardson said Mrs McLean and her husband Allan Murray first met Small in 2005 and hired him to help renovate a cottage in rural Perthshire, near Auchterarder.

But they fell out with the main contractor and Small was left 5,000 out of pocket. The court heard it was the contractor and not the couple who were due to pay Small.

Mr Richardson said Small was prosecuted for cutting the couple's car brake cables and was jailed for eight months, before being released early last year.

"Then on 27 May, 2009, the husband was at home when the mail arrived. There was a typed letter bearing 'Sent by a friend of Andrew Small' and addressed to Mrs McLean.

"It was a letter advising her that there was a very strong possibility that she was about to be killed if she didn't pay up the money that she owed."

Small admitted sending a death threat. Sentence was deferred for psychiatric reports and he was detained at Murray Royal Hospital.

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The court heard previously how Mrs McLean drove the two cars – both Mercedes 300 estates – without realising Small had cut the power steering and brakes. Small also sliced through the satellite TV and telephone cables at her remote cottage.

Mrs McLean, 57, who worked on Doctor Who and French & Saunders during 18 years at the BBC, said: "We are not living in a soap opera, even if it was like something from that."

While Mr Murray, 57, was abroad and Mrs McLean was in the house alone in October 2008, Small went into the walled garden under cover of darkness with wire cutters and sabotaged the cars and phone lines.

Mrs McLean drove one car but stopped almost immediately to get the other because the brakes were not working. The court heard she drove the second car for about ten miles but escaped serious injury when she lost control. She said: "I knew it must have been him. I could easily have killed someone."

Small, 47, of Skinnergate, Perth, admitted cutting the brake and power steering cables. He also admitted stealing items from the cottage.