Scotland’s former top prosecutor feared for her family’s safety after a group of conspiracy theorists lodged an online “lynch mob” against her, a court has heard.
Dame Elish Angiolini QC was giving evidence at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday after the former lord advocate claimed she had been the subject of repeated stalking over the course of a month.
Timothy Rustige, 65, is on trial accused of causing Dame Elish to suffer fear and alarm by subjecting her to a campaign of harassment between February 27 and March 22, 2012.
Rustige, of 22 Burlington Court, Burlington Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, denies the allegations.
The court heard yesterday how highly defamatory e-mails had been sent to Oxford, Aberdeen and Strathclyde Universities claiming Dame Elish was a “satanic woman” res- ponsible for the cover up of a paedophile ring in Aberdeen.
The mother-of-two had at one point been regional procurator fiscal for Grampian, Highlands and Islands before becoming the first woman to head the Crown Office, ultimately responsible for all prosecutions in Scotland.
The e-mails, which were read out in court, claimed a variety of Establishment figures, described as the “great and the good” of the area, had all been sexually abusing a young girl.
They claimed Dame Elish had been aware of the paedophile ring and in her duty as lord advocate had covered it up.
Other e-mails claimed she had been directly involved in the murder of the abused girl’s uncle, who was found to have committed suicide.
The court heard the messages began around the time Dame Elish was appointed principal of St Hugh’s College at Oxford University.
When asked by procurator fiscal Christopher Macintosh how she felt about the allegations, Dame Elish said they were hurtful and completely false and merely “the rantings of crazy people and conspiracy theorists”.
She added: “Given I have spent my career trying to improve the way these crimes are investigated and prosecuted it was particularly hurtful, not just as a prosecutor but as a mother.
“The fact that it is being suggested that I would be capable of covering up for this type of people is repugnant to me.”
Dame Elish added that she had employed extra security for herself and her family as a result of the messages. She said she also feared for her safety when out in public as some of the correspondence was threatening in nature. The case against Rustige has been adjourned until later this week.