Bo’ness drunk chased children into school playground

Picture Michael Gillen. Falkirk Sheriff Court.
Picture Michael Gillen. Falkirk Sheriff Court.

A drunk who chased several children into a school playground before dropping his trousers and then staggering into someone else’s house claiming to be a detective has been jailed for 12 months.

James Newbigging (35), downed two bottles of MD20/20 fortified wine before the “alarming” scenes in the summer in Bo’ness.

Falkirk Sheriff Court was told that four children – two 13 year old boys, a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl – had been returning from playing on an AstroTurf pitch at the town’s recreation centre about 8pm on June 24, 2019 when they noticed Newbigging “drunkenly falling over and staggering around” behind a shop.

Prosecutor Samantha Brown said the children knew the accused “because of his notoriety in the area for wandering around whilst intoxicated”.

Clutching a half-empty bottle of drink, Newbigging made his way towards the children.

Miss Brown, the depute fiscal, said: “The children began to walk away from him, but he began running after them, chasing them through the local streets towards a primary school, shouting incoherently towards them, and occasionally falling over.”

One of the girls ran off home, while the other children made their way into the school playground and hid behind the gates.

Newbigging, by now standing just a short distance from them, dropped his trousers and underwear and began urinating on the ground.

The 12-year-old girl phoned police, while Newbigging staggered on towards a house in Lothian Street, Bo’ness, which he entered uninvited, stumbling into the living room.

One of the “surprised” householders asked who he was to which he replied: “I’m CID.”

Miss Brown said the householder replied, “No you’re not” and escorted him out.

Just at this point, another man who lived in the house was returning home, and was told by two of the children, who were still in the area, that Newbigging had been exposing himself.

As the children watched, the man went to confront Newbigging, who by this time had armed himself with a brick.

As the householder, named as Michael Johnstone, approached, Newbigging struck him on the side of the head with the brick, causing a cut to his temple.

Miss Brown said a struggle then ensued and the accused had to be restrained on the grass outside the house.

Police, responding to the first incident, were directed to the second, and Newbigging was arrested.

Newbigging, unemployed, of Bo’ness, pleaded guilty to statutory breach of the peace, public indecency, and assaulting Mr Johnstone to his injury.

Simon Hutchison, defending, said: “There was no sexual connotation to the incident at the primary school – all he was doing was dropping his trousers to urinate.

“He had drunk two bottles of Mad Dog and remembers very little. He went to the house in Lothian Street because he lived there for seven months and in his ridiculously intoxicated drunken state he thought he still did.”

Imposing the 12-month jail term, Sheriff Christopher Shead told Newbigging: “In the light of the nature of the offences and your record, I am satisfied that a custodial sentence is the appropriate disposal.”