A tooled-up university academic armed with a knuckleduster – who slapped a five-year-old girl in a public park – has walked free from court.
Douglas Anderson, who is currently studying for a Master’s Degree at Lancaster University, lashed out at the youngster while she was with her gran in a park in August this year.
The 28-year-old slapped the girl so hard he caused her to fall off her cycle and left her in a distressed state.
And when the little girl’s gran rushed to her aid, twisted Anderson chased her away.
Anderson, of Glasgow Road, Paisley, pleaded guilty to assaulting the child, who can’t be named for legal reasons, in Barshaw Park, Paisley, threatening and chasing her gran, placing others in a state of fear and alarm, and being in possession of an offensive weapon when he appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court.
Solicitor Amy Spencer, defending, said that Anderson had been drunk at the time.
She explained: “He accepts he voluntarily took alcohol on that day and doesn’t shy away from that.”
After hearing that Anderson’s actions may be explained due to the fact that he had drank alcohol while on prescribed anti-depression medication, Sheriff James Spy adjourned the case.
He said he wanted clarification on Anderson’s mental state at the time and deferred sentence.
As he did so, he said: “I wish to have some further medical information regarding what was going on with you around the time this incident took place.”
Sentence was deferred so Anderson could be assessed by social workers and a psychiatrist and he returned to the dock on Tuesday to learn his fate.
Miss Spencer told the court that a psychiatrist had assessed her client and ruled that he was not suffering from any mental illness “which would require treatment under the mental health act.”
She added: “The psychiatrist also states that the prescribed medication was not a factor in his behaviour or actions that day.
“He realises how fortunate he is not to be going to custody today for such a serious offence.”
After hearing that Anderson, who got a First Class Honours degree in biology at the University of Glasgow, is currently living in England as he is studying at Lancaster University, Sheriff Spy spared him jail.
He placed Anderson on a 15-month community order which will see him supervised by social workers.
As part of the supervision he will have to attend for alcohol, drug and mental health counselling as and when directed by his supervisor.
He was also given 12 months to complete 250 hours’ unpaid work in the community and the order was transferred to Lancaster Magistrates Court for enforcement.