A Sheriff told an Army veteran who threatened someone with a knife that he had been “let down by society” when he needed help for post traumatic stress.
Brian Fraser served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and stood in the dock at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday wearing a service medal.
The former paratrooper from Kiltarlity appeared for sentence yesterday after admitting, on indictment, illegal possession of a knife, presenting it at at a customer on a taxi rank and threatening violence to police in the early morning of August 15 last year.
The 43 year old stood in the dock in civilian clothes but with his Bosnia service medal on his left shoulder.
Sentencing Fraser to one year’s supervision and a mental health treatment requirement, Sheriff Neilson told Fraser: “These are highly unusual and exceptional circumstances. You have given years of public service and appear to have been let down by society when you yourself needed help.
“In view of your years of public service, I will not impose any hours of unpaid work.”
At an earlier hearing, fiscal Roderick Urquhart told the court that the taxi passenger Connor Murray was standing near the front of the queue at the taxi rank on Castle Wynd, Inverness, when Fraser pushed in front of him.
He added: “Murray pushed him aside and told him to go away. Fraser then produced a knife, and pointed it towards Murray and began moving it towards him.
“Others in the queue heard him make a comment to Mr Murray about stabbing him. Mr Murray, fearing for his safety, immediately ran away from the taxi rank.”
Mr Murray reported the incident to the police who traced Fraser soon afterwards, after stopping every taxi between Inverness and Kiltarlity.
Mr Urquhart added: “They found him in a taxi near Bunchrew about 4.10 a.m. and detained, handcuffed and searched him, finding the knife in one of his jacket pockets.
“Fraser said that he had this knife in his possession at all times for combat training and to protect himself against “punks.”
Mr Urquhart went on: “He was then told he was being arrested at which point he began to struggle violently with the police, thrashing about and attempting to evade their grip, almost striking one of the constables with his head. He was brought to the ground, handcuffed and leg restraints applied.
“Fraser shouted at the police, “I’m going to have people come shoot you. I’m going to have you all shot. I’ll have you executed. I know paratroopers who will have your heads off.”
Later he told police: “I panicked because of what’s happened to me in the past in the military.”
Mr Latif told the court: “He is an intelligent man with a range of experiences most people will not understand.
“He has given years of public service to his country, had great combat skills and one of those events was life-changing for him. He descended into an alcoholic fugue and is suffering from post traumatic stress. He has been left with a sense of abandonment which ought to be a matter of shame for those who put him in that position.”
Afterwards, Fraser, who left the Army in 2008, said: “I am relieved at the sentence. My life is in the toilet and the only thing keeping me going is looking after my mother who is very ill.”