A gun nut who sent terrifying messages to a woman he met on a dating site – telling her he could see her through a rifle scope from miles away – has dodged jail.
Kevin McLean began chatting to Karen Traill via match.com with the pair later exchanging numbers and conversing through WhatsApp.
But he later left Miss Traill so terrified she went to police after telling her he was equipped with 10 guns and two bulletproof vests and could watch her from “miles away”.
McLean then added that he “loved shooting targets” and threatened to turn up at Bell Baxter High School – leaving her “scared” for the safety of pupils at the school.
McLean’s lawyer said: “He accepts this is a serious matter – especially given the numerous school shootings that seem to occur on a regular basis in the US.”
Fiscal depute Laura Bruce told Dundee Sheriff Court : “At 9.45am on February 27 Miss Traill was scared for the safety of herself and others so went to Cupar police station.
“He had warned he would attend Bell Baxter High School in the belief she worked there – she does not in fact work there.
“Police went to his address and he was taken to Dunfermline police station.
“During the interview there he confirmed he had sent the messages and said he had seen someone who looked like her outside Bell Baxter High School and assumed as a result that she worked there.
“He said he ‘didn’t mean any harm’ but agreed the tone of the messages would suggest a threat, but said he would never dream of doing anything such as shooting people.”
McLean, 37, of Lochgelly, Fife, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge under the Communications Act committed on February 26 and 27 this year at addresses in Dunfermline, Dundee and at his home.
Defence solicitor Paul Parker Smith said: “He’s from a farming background where the use of guns is fairly commonplace.
“He did have a number of air rifles but following upon this they were seized by police and crushed and his air weapon licence has been revoked.
“With hindsight he accepts this was a serious matter especially given the numerous school shootings that seem to occur on a regular basis in the US.
“He understands he was completely wrong to send messages about threatening to shoot people and it was never his intention to scare her.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael placed McLean on a community payback order with supervision for 15 months with 180 hours of unpaid work.
The sheriff said: “This is a serious offence and one which is in the territory where I have to think about a custodial sentence.
“I also have to consider other options and I am of the opinion a community payback order under supervision is appropriate in this case, along with a period of unpaid work.
“This is a direct alternative to a prison sentence.”