South Scotland

John McCarry admits Galashiels Health Centre stand-off charge

Police cordon
Image caption Galashiels Health Centre was evacuated after McCarry threatened to set both himself and the building on fire

A court has heard how a 50-year-old man threatened to set both himself and a Borders health centre on fire after having his benefits cut.

John McCarry of Galashiels doused himself in petrol and held the rest of a half-full plastic bottle in one hand and a lighter in the other.

It prompted the evacuation of his home town's health centre on 28 February.

He admitted a charge of breach of the peace at Selkirk Sheriff Court and his sentence was deferred.

The court was told he was angry that he had been declared fit to work.

Trained negotiators

He entered a doctor's consulting room at Galashiels Health Centre and threatened to set himself and the building on fire.

However, Dr Robert Soutter managed to get word to a colleague to contact the police which resulted in about 30 staff and patients being shepherded out of the building.

A three-hour stand-off then followed before specially-trained police negotiators finally convinced McCarry to give up the bottle containing petrol and throw the lighter to the ground.

McCarry, of Gorse Lane, Galashiels, appeared from custody and pleaded guilty on indictment to a breach of the peace charge.

He admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner and, while in possession of a bottle of petrol and a lighter, pouring the fuel over his head and body and over the floor.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond deferred sentence for reports and remanded McCarry in custody.

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