South Scotland

John McCarry sentenced over Galashiels Health Centre stand-off

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

A man involved a three-hour stand-off with police after dousing himself in petrol in a health centre has avoided a jail sentence.

John McCarry, 50, was upset at a cut in his benefits when he threatened to set fire to himself and the building.

A doctor raised the alarm and staff and patients were evacuated from Galashiels Health Centre in February this year.

At Selkirk Sheriff Court, McCarry was given a six-month community payback order with a supervision requirement.

He was also ordered to engage with the mental health organisation Penumbra.

The court heard how McCarry had reacted angrily when Job Centre officials had declared him fit to work and told him he would be getting his benefits stopped.

Emergency services

He headed straight for his home town's health centre where he went into a doctor's consulting room and poured a litre of petrol over his head.

McCarry then held a half-full plastic bottle in one hand and a lighter in the other.

After the building was evacuated, it was surrounded by the emergency services.

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

He had previously admitted committing a breach of the peace at the health centre.

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