Writer Janice Galloway ‘stalked by former lover’

Best-selling author Janice Galloway told of 'immediate panic' at McNaught turning up at her home. Picture: Contributed
Best-selling author Janice Galloway told of 'immediate panic' at McNaught turning up at her home. Picture: Contributed
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A CONCERT pianist accused of stalking author Janice Galloway told her he would walk into the sea with their young son, a court has heard.

Graeme McNaught told the writer he was to be crowned the “king of Scotland” during a beach ceremony.

McNaught, 54, had turned up uninvited at the best-selling author’s home wearing bright clothes and dyed blond hair when he is alleged to have made the comments.

He is alleged to have told her he was to “walk into the water” and wanted to take their son James with him.

McNaught is on trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court facing ten charges of placing Miss Galloway in a state of fear and alarm on occasions between 1996 and 2012. He has denied them all.

Miss Galloway, 58, author of works including The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Foreign Parts and Blood, told a jury yesterday McNaught had come to her former home in Glasgow in 1997. She and McNaught, of Mount Vernon, Glasgow, met in 1990 and had a six-year on-off relationship during which they had a son James, now 22.

Giving evidence from behind protective screens, Miss Galloway said: “It was very frightening. He was dressed oddly in very bright colours and his hair was cut short and dyed blond.

“I took him into my work room in the house and gave him a cup of tea to calm him down.

“He said he was going to be the king of Scotland. I assumed it was a joke but he seemed very hurt. He went on at some length that he had to conduct some sort of ceremony on a beach but he had to walk into water and wanted to take James with him. He said it wasn’t going to happen that night but it would happen soon.

“James was five, he was upstairs and I hoped he couldn’t hear anything. The threatening stuff was directed at my son and I felt I had to so something.

“That was the thing that concerned me most at an immediate panic level. It was like being in a movie inside your own house, it was surreal. I was nervous. I had never seen Graeme so agitated.”

Miss Galloway, from Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, said she called in police and a psychiatrist was called but McNaught fled before the doctor arrived.

Under questioning from depute fiscal Imran Bashir, she also described an alleged incident at the Edinburgh Book Festival, later in 1997. She said she was meeting fellow writers Andrew O’Hagan and Colm Tóibín at an event but McNaught turned up.

She said: “When I arrived, Andy was very shaken. I remember him running towards me and saying, ‘Thank God you are here. Colm has just left. Graeme’s here, Graeme’s at the festival’.

“I only saw him at a distance. He was waiting outside the tent holding papers in his hands.

“Andy was shaken up and he said, ‘What on earth has been going on?’. So I told him. I knew if Graeme had come to a place where I worked, it wasn’t for any benign reason.

“Having spoken to Andy, I wanted to stay out of his way. I did what Andy suggested – I ducked and I got out of the way.”

The trial had earlier heard Miss Galloway claim she had received “bizarre” letters and parcels containing drawings and paintings from McNaught since their break-up in 1996.

She said: “All of them had an intimidatory nature and they were quite bizarre and unsettling. The letters would say things like I was being watched and people knew what I was doing. The drawings could be eyes staring at you or images of fire. There was something almost ritualistic about them.”

The trial, before Sheriff Ray Small, continues.