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Horror as sex offender tries to slit his own throat in courtroom

Robin Parker said 'I am not going to prison' then tried to slit his throat.
Robin Parker said 'I am not going to prison' then tried to slit his throat.

An investigation has been launched today after a sex offender pulled out a knife in the dock of a court and tried to slit his own throat.

Robin Parker had just been handed a 14-month sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court when he removed the concealed blade from his clothing and held it to his throat.

Parker told the court: “I am not going to prison” then drew the blade across his neck.

The shocking incident has prompted calls for a review of security at Inverness Justice Centre after it emerged the weapon did not set off court metal detectors.

The 55-year-old was appearing for sentencing following his conviction on a number of charges, including sexual assault.

‘He has got a knife!’

As Sheriff Sara Matheson handed down the sentence, Parker – who walks with the aid of crutches – appeared to be struggling to get to his feet, leaning to one side.

A solicitor, who was not involved in the case, then exclaimed: “He has got a knife!”

Parker then stood and put the blade to his throat, telling security staff to stay back.

A member of GEOAmey security staff lunged to grab Parker as he drew the blade across his neck.

Fiscal depute Robert Weir, a member of court staff and a police officer, who rushed from the rear of the court, also made attempts to disarm him.

Parker continued to struggle, managing to bring the blade to his throat a second time and making a slashing motion, before he was overpowered.

A social worker ran from the courtroom to fetch a second police officer and the situation was brought under control.

‘I had to look away because he was so determined’

Parker suffered from what is believed to be superficial cuts to his neck and did not go to hospital.

The weapon, a folding credit card-sized device with a blade of the same length, was seized.

Sources at the court said when it was put through the metal detector after the incident it did not set off the alarms.

An eyewitness said: “It all happened so quickly. I heard someone shout ‘He’s got a knife’ and then all hell broke loose.

“He looked serious when he said he wasn’t going to prison and the second time he put the knife to his throat I had to look away because he was so determined. I thought it was going to work and I couldn’t bear to watch a man slitting his own throat.

“I was frozen in my seat, but the people that tackled him were so quick and I believe their actions prevented it from being something much worse.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service said: “We are aware of an incident which took place this morning at Inverness Sheriff Court and are currently working with Police Scotland to investigate the circumstances.

“We would like to praise the quick response of the GEOAmey officer and court staff to this incident. We are unable to comment further at this stage.”

A GEOAmey spokesman told the Press and Journal that the firm would “review” the circumstances.

“As always, we will review this operational incident to establish the facts,” he said.

“We would like to commend the swift actions of our officer who intervened immediately in what was a fast-moving and challenging situation.”

The brave actions of court staff were also praised by Inverness MSP Fergus Ewing.

He said: “The GEOAmey staffer and police officer who intervened showed great courage and helped prevent a very serious incident

“There will plainly be an investigation into how this individual came to bring a knife into court.

“This is a stark reminder of the risks sheriff court staff and police take on our behalf for which we owe our grateful thanks.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland added: “A 55-year-old man will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with being in possession of an offensive weapon at Inverness Sheriff Court on Tuesday December 20 2022. No one was injured as a result”.

Calls for major security review

One man, who works in the court building, questioned why the security measures hadn’t discovered the knife.

He said: “What a shocking incident but he obviously came prepared to do it and went to lengths to avoid detection by the security searches and metal detector at the entrance lobby, which was only installed a few months ago.

“It is believed that he had brought what looked like a plastic credit card – an innocent-looking item but unfolded, it became a sharp knife and potentially deadly.

“lt should have been picked up by the metal detector. But he was walking on metal crutches which could have deceived the guards. There has to be a major security review now.”

Law Society of Scotland President Murray Etherington said: “This is a disturbing and frightening incident, and it’s a relief to hear that no one has been seriously hurt.

“Solicitors and everyone else working and interacting with the justice system should feel safe in and around Scotland’s courts.

“We know that historically thousands of knives and other contraband items are seized from people entering courts every year, underlining the importance of robust security measures.”

Offending was ‘predatory in nature’

An earlier trial had heard how Parker told a woman his mum had cancer and asked for a hug before pushing her onto a bed and attempting to strip her from the waist down.

The incident was the culmination of a course of unwanted “dirty or flirty” behaviour towards the woman by Robin Parker, which included offering her money to see her private parts and pulling down her trousers to touch her against her will.

The victim was one of two women who gave evidence against Parker in a trial at Inverness Sheriff Court.

The other told how he had targeted her after offering lifts, on one occasion showing her a sexual image and requesting she do the same and on another, insisting she kiss him on the lips before he would drive on.

Handing down the custodial sentence before the drama unfolded, Sheriff Matheson had told Parker: “This offending is a course of conduct that in my view, having heard the evidence, was predatory in nature and involved a breach of trust.

“I don’t consider that there is an alternative consistent with my duty to the public.”