Domestic dispute turned into four-hour siege

Ross Scott at Falkirk Sheriff Court today
Ross Scott at Falkirk Sheriff Court today

Police and emergency services personnel had to close off a street after a man barricaded himself in his flat and threatened to set it on fire.

Ross Scott (29) had been involved in an argument with his partner, which saw him throw a variety of items out of a window before storming off to his own address 103 North Street, Bo’ness.

When police tried to talk to him he locked and blocked his door and told them he was going to set fire to his flat.

This led to the whole street being closed off, neighbours being evacuated and a siege situation involving police, firefighters and ambulance staff which lasted for four hours.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court today, Scott previously pled guilty to behaving in a threatening manner at Thirlestane, Bo’ness and a breach of the peace in North Street on June 27 last year.

Procurator fiscal depute Mhairi Alexander said: “The accused and the complainer had been in a relationship. On Saturday, June 27 he had been out and she contacted him to see when he would be home.

“At 6pm she received a text message he would be coming back to the house in order to collect his belongings. She wasn’t aware of the reason for this, but said she would have his stuff ready for him.

“The accused arrived at 8.30pm and the complainer was present with her six-year-old son. He walked straight upstairs without saying anything to her.

“He then took a rucksack and started to pack his belongings. She tried to engage with him but he didn’t answer. At this point the accused started to throw items that belonged to him out of the first floor window into the back garden a television, DVD player and bedside unit.

“He also tried to throw a mattress out of the window but gave up and headed downstairs. She called the police to say that he had been trashing the house.

“Around 25 minutes later police arrived and spotted the accused walking back to his flat. They got out to speak to him, but he refused to stop. He was clearly quite agitated and became quite hostile towards police.

“He said he had done nothing wrong. Due to his size and his hostile behaviour police officers requested further assistance.”

Officers followed him to his flat and once there Scott took out a knife.

The procurator fiscal depute said: “Inside his flat he produced a small knife, two to three inches long, and began spinning it in his hand. Police were of the view this behaviour was designed to intimidate them, but he didn’t make any threats.”

Scott put the knife back in his pocket and stated he was going back to his partner’s place.

“Police advised him he would be arrested if he took the knife out in public and he gave it to them, telling them to post it through his letter box, which they did.

“He said he was going back to his partner’s address and they couldn’t do anything about it. Police tried to take hold of his arms, but he broke free and stormed back into his flat.

“Officers tried to stop him but could not. Further officers attended and the accused barricaded his front door, saying he was going to set a fire within his flat.

“The incident had now become a siege and various measures were put in place, including a police cordon around the premise and neighbours being evacuated.

“Fire and ambulance crews also attended as a precaution.”

The court heard police negotiators were called in and after four hours the situation was resolved.

“Entry was forced because the accused had broken a key in the lock,” said the procurator fiscal depute.

Scott, who was representing himself at court, said: “When I get nervous I play with things like my lighter. That’s what I was what I was doing with the knife - I never actually brandished it at the police.

“I had a lot of stress at the time, trying to make rent payments, trying to keep my van on the road. I had been drinking and things just came to a head.”

Scott stated he was an irrigation engineer who worked on golf courses and said he and his partner were still together.

Sheriff Derek Livingston said: “You have something of a record for various things, but have not been in trouble for eight years.”

Scott was placed on a supervised community payback order for 18 months with the condition he complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community within 12 months.”