Ex-soldier terrified Aberdeen shop girl by stalking her for nine months

Andrew Wilkinson, 47, had never met Erin Thomson before waging the “sinister” campaign of harassment against her.

A burly ex-soldier left a young shop assistant badly shaken by stalking her around her workplace during a terrifying nine-month ordeal.

Andrew Wilkinson, 47, had never met Erin Thomson before waging the “sinister” campaign of harassment against her.

Miss Thomson was in her early 20s at the time and worked at the John Lewis shop on George Street, Aberdeen.

Wilkinson avoided a prison sentence when he appeared at the city’s sheriff court yesterday, but only because a sheriff was persuaded that a “mild brain injury” may have been a factor in his behaviour.

The accused was convicted of engaging in a course of conduct which caused Miss Thomson fear and alarm at a trial last year.

Jurors found him guilty of “repeatedly attending at the department where Miss Thomson worked in John Lewis, loitering there and staring at her”.

The court heard he also followed her through the nearby Bon Accord Centre and into a Costa Coffee shop, where he “stared at her from outside before entering”.

Wilkinson, a father-of-two of Castlefield Terrace in Kintore, carried out the acts between August 1, 2016, and April 27, 2017, when John Lewis security staff banned him from the premises.

His lawyer, Christopher Maitland, said the accused had been travelling into Aberdeen on a daily basis to take his children to school and attend a gym – before visiting John Lewis.

He added: “My client ought to have known that alarm was being caused, but he says he did not know that.”

Mr Maitland said Wilkinson may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his time in the Army, and suggested that a head injury he received in a car crash could also have had a bearing on his actions.

Sheriff William Summers told the accused: “You have been found guilty of the offence of stalking, the victim was a complete stranger to you yet you stalked her around her workplace for nine months.

“Your behaviour was sinister and profoundly troubling.

“It is clear that your behaviour has had life-changing consequences for the victim.”

Sheriff Summers ordered Wilkinson to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, placed him under supervision for two years and issued a restriction of liberty order preventing him from leaving his home between 8pm and 6am for the next two months, and between 10pm and 6am for the subsequent two months.