Scottish Firefighter Lost the Plot

“Lost the Plot”…. No its not a typo.  I usually do not cover legal matters from other countries, but there was something intriguing about this story and the common language that separates the US from the UK. A senior firefighter from Hamilton, in Scotland, is in trouble with the law for directing threatening and abusive behavior towards his girlfriend.

Steven Aitchison of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, was arrested and charged earlier this year with choking Shauna McManus, and tearing up her home. In March the case was deferred pending Aitchison’s remaining on good behavior for six months. He appeared for final sentencing today and got off with an “admonishment” by the Sheriff. The lack of a serious penalty has McManus seeing red. She was quoted by the media as saying:

“He really frightens me. I have had to live with this for months, and to find out that he has only been admonished sickens me.  The judicial system is all wrong. I have been left to pay for all the damage to my home that night. I have had to renew doors, replace flooring, lamps, ornaments and a side board, not to mention picking up the pieces in my own life”.

Take a look at how she explained the violent episode:

“We had gone out for a Christmas night out together and had such a brilliant night. We came home to my house and he went out for something to eat. I decided that I would go up to bed. When he got back, he came up to the bedroom and tried to wake me. When I am sleeping I just want to sleep, so I didn’t wake up straight away… I thought I better get up and went downstairs and sat on the couch…. It was then that he just lost the plot”.

McManus alleges that Aitchison then grabbed her by the throat and smashed up her furniture. Aitchison, a watch commander, remains suspended from Strathclyde Fire and Rescue facing internal disciplinary action.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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