Tayside and Central Scotland

Gunman jailed after two decades on the run

Paul Hill Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Paul Hill's defence QC said the incident was "a one-off, impetuous, reckless act"

A gunman went on the run for almost 20 years after fearing he would be "made an example of" in the wake of the Dunblane shooting, a court heard.

Paul Hill, 42, was jailed for six months at the High Court in Edinburgh after handing himself in last year.

He had fled to England and lived in Ireland and the Channel Islands after firing two shots in the air outside the Falls of Dochart Inn in Killin in 1996.

Hill's defence QC said the incident was "a one-off, impetuous, reckless act."

The court heard earlier that Hill had been out for an evening with his parents, his sister, and a friend, when an altercation started between Hill's father and another man.

A witness, Crichton Davies, told Hill to go home but Hill, whom he described as "really wound up", began to struggle with him.

Produced gun

During the struggle, Hill produced a small handgun, and fired it into the air.

He fired the gun in the air a second time as Mr Davies tried to free the weapon from his grasp.

The gun was never recovered, but Hill handed himself in to police the next day.

He was originally charged with attempted murder and released on bail but failed to appear for trial in 1997.

Two months after the incident outside the pub, gunman Thomas Hamilton had opened fire in a primary school in Dunblane, killing 16 children and a teacher before killing himself.

Defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC told the court: "Just very shortly before his trial the events in Dunblane had taken place and, perhaps somewhat unwisely, the solicitor then acting for him suggested he would be made an example of because of the circumstances."

Mr McConnachie said the gunshot incident was "a one-off, impetuous, reckless act which had never been repeated".

'Serious matter'

Hill, of Killin, Perthshire, admitted struggling with Mr Davies, and recklessly discharging the gun.

He also admitted failing to appear for a court hearing in February 1997, and fleeing from home, all to avoid detection and arrest.

Judge Lord Ericht said he recognised that the offence Hill was convicted of was "much less serious" than the original charge.

He said: "Nonetheless, the discharge of a firearm is a serious matter.

"You have also defied the authority of the court by failing to attend for trial and evaded arrest since then."

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites