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Pensioner fined over ‘vile’ letters to SNP MP

AN “ECCENTRIC” pensioner who sent “vile and gratuitously offensive” letters to MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh about her faith has been fined £500.

David Crozier, of 8 Smuggabank, Mossbank, was also ordered not to contact the SNP politician for five years.

The 68 year old previously admitted at Lerwick Sheriff Court to sending messages containing offensive and abusive comments aggravated by religious prejudice from his home between 23 May and 26 May last year.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court on Wednesday that the only reason the “eccentric” Crozier corresponded with the Ochil and South Perthshire MP, a practising Muslim, was her faith.

The anonymous letters were passed onto Shetland police, who contacted the office of local MP Alistair Carmichael to see if they had received any correspondence from the man.

The Liberal Democrat’s team recognised the handwriting, which led police to “serial corresponder” Crozier, Mackenzie said.

Crozier initially told police that he was “expressing an opinion and exercising his right to freedom of speech” in the letters.

The fiscal added that Ahmed-Sheikh was left fearful of her safety while attending public events after receiving the letters.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Crozier had no phone or internet and rarely went out and about, meaning that it was “difficult” to see how Crozier could get into trouble and offend people.

The man from Mossbank, who was described as a recluse, took to letter writing to “let off steam” as he couldn’t send emails or speak to friends in the pub, Allan said.

The pensioner had also sent non-threatening letters to the likes of Mastermind presenter John Humphrys and the cast of Doctor Who.

Allan said that his client’s “initial bullishness” over the charges had “evaporated” into an acceptance that his behaviour was out of order.

“He has assured me that it won’t happen again,” the solicitor said.

Sheriff John Rafferty said that while Crozier had a right to express his opinions to politicians, his letters to Ahmed-Sheikh were “vile and gratuitously offensive” and had caused “considerable upset”.

Given that Crozier had no criminal record, Sheriff Rafferty fined the man £500 and placed him under a non-harassment order relating to his victim for five years.