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Barlow appeal and apology

Samuel Barlow at Westerloch shortly before being arrested on 23 September - Photos: Austin Taylor

THE Shetland teenager who was jailed for pointing and threatening to fire an air rifle at armed police is appealing his sentence, the justiciary office confirmed on Tuesday.

In two letters to Shetland News 16-year old Samuel Barlow has apologised for his actions – which sparked a major firearms incident in Lerwick on the afternoon of 23 September last year.

Since sending the teenager to the Polmont young offenders institution for three years, sheriff Philip Mann has been the target of unprecedented criticism from the Shetland public.

An online petition calling for the sentence to be reconsidered has received more than 1,800 signatures, and many islanders have expressed their outrage on social media and the letters page of local media outlets.

Barlow, originally from Wester Skeld, admitted four charges of assault and one of threatening behaviour after sparking a major firearms incident in Lerwick on 23 September in a stand off with armed police.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that Barlow could have easily been shot in the standoff with armed police.

Following the sentencing his father Paul said the family had hoped for a more lenient sentence, as his son needed help more than anything else.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Court Service said: “I can confirm that an appeal against sentence has been lodged.”

The appeal is unlikely to be heard for another few months.

Paul Barlow said his son had this week started an apprenticeship as a plumber and was doing “okay” at Polmont.

Barlow smashing the window of a white van parked in the area.

The family is able to keep in touch with their son via phone and occasional video conferencing.

In two short letters, one addressed to the Shetland public and the other to the owner of a white van that had its window smashed, Samuel Barlow said he was sorry.

The letters read:

“Dear Shetland
I am sorry for the alarm I have caused the people of Scalloway and Lerwick. I was not in a happy or enjoyable state of mind, due to a long distance relationship what ended in sorrow and heart break.

“This affected my state of mind on the day of the incident. This incident was as unenjoyable for me as (it was) for the people in Lerwick and Scalloway.

And I hope for forgiveness from the people affected.
From Samuel Barlow, HMYOI Polmont”


“To the driver of the white van on Westerloch. That I smashed the window of your van I am deeply sorry. I am willing to pay for the damage to your van when I am out. I hope you can forgive me. (Please contact my mum or dad with the details).

Samuel Barlow
HMYOI Polmont”