A father-of-six threatened to blow up himself and police when he set fire to a gas canister in his caravan.
More than 20 police, including armed officers, were called to the Torvean Quarry just outside Inverness where 40-year-old John Stewart lived.
During a tense siege – which lasted more than three-and-a-half hours – Stewart shouted “I am not afraid to die” and threatened to stab himself if the caravan was stormed, but eventually gave himself up.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard the incident took place in the early hours of December 2 after his wife’s birthday celebrations.
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Around 5am, he ordered her and other family members out of the caravan, telling her he wanted to kill himself. He had a Stanley knife.
Police were called and found Stewart had secured himself in the caravan where he opened a gas canister and shouted at police that he would blow up himself and them.
The Armed Response Unit was then deployed and officers stationed themselves in pairs near the caravan, but at a safe distance, fiscal depute David Morton told the court yesterday.
Stewart made another attempt to set the canister alight and a short time later when he came to the caravan door, police fired a rubber bullet at him but it ricocheted away.
“Trained police negotiators arrived to assist with the incident and Stewart could be heard saying to them he was not coming out and his family would be better off without him,” Mr Morton added.
But around an hour later, after another unsuccessful attempt to set fire to the caravan, Stewart came out and was arrested.
Stewart admitted behaving in a threatening manner and Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald deferred sentence until October 30 for a background report.
His lawyer, solicitor-advocate Shahid Latif, told her: “There was pressure on him by both sides of his family to take sides following another incident. He was trying to remain neutral but it led to a period of depression and a long-fuse disintegration of his mental health. He has since sought help.”
Sheriff Macdonald warned Stewart, who admitted previous convictions, that he could be jailed, adding: “ This was frightening and very dangerous for your family and police officers.”