October 2007

Chilling boast from sex beast courts say can’t be kept in jail

A dangerous paedophile was allowed to walk free from prison last night – despite claiming he intends to murder a youngster.

Colin Macdonald, 33, was released after a high court judge dismissed a Crown attempt to have him tried for his twisted boast to jail staff.

Prosecutors claimed the prisoner, who was serving six years for the attempted rape of an 11-year-old girl, committed a breach of the peace by alarming two prison psychologists.

Macdonald was jailed in 2002 for his sick attack on the 11-year-old.

He grabbed the child on a grassy area in Denny, Stirlingshire, put his hand over her mouth and pushed her to the ground.

Christine Bonathan and Angela Holmes raised their fears after a risk assessment interview with Macdonald before his scheduled release last year.

During the session the sex beast referred to Soham murderer Ian Huntley and his victims Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both 10.

He also mentioned Roy Whiting, the child sex fiend who killed Sarah Payne, seven, in 2000.

On another occasion last year he said he was a dangerous predator who had not been rehabilitated during his time inside Peterhead Prison.

He also revealed he had violent sex fantasies and wanted to commit a sex crime that would result in a life sentence.

In another interview, he indicated he would use a knife on his victim.

Macdonald was “gate arrested” on two breach of the peace charges last year as he left prison after serving two-thirds of his sentence, and has been held in Saughton Prison since.

He was accused of conducting himself in a disorderly manner, putting the women in a state of fear and alarm for themselves and others.

Prosecutors wanted him to stand trial at the high court, where the maximum penalty for the offences would be life imprisonment.

Judge Lord Bracadale initially ruled the case could go to a jury, but his decision was challenged by Macdonald’s lawyers at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh last week.

Three appeal judges referred the case back to Lord Bracadale and ordered him to throw it out of court, following a split decision, Lord Johnston and Lord Clarke ruled that the indictment could not stand because Macdonald had made the alleged remarks during a session with psychologists.

Lord Johnston said the context of the interview: “Does not lend itself to definitions to be found in long-standing cases regarding public concern”.

The third appeal judge, Lord Marnoch, disagreed and said: “In common with Lord Bracadale, I for my part would regard the arguments regarding the contextual aspect of this case as being ultimately for the jury.”

When Macdonald’s case returned to the high court in Edinburgh yesterday, his counsel Gordon Jackson told Lord Bracadale: “You cannot charge anyone who tells a psychologist of a sexual fantasy with breach of the peace.

“This is a device to keep him in custody.”

The judge dismissed the charges and Macdonald was told he was free to go. The sex beast will be kept under supervision for the six years.

A police insider said after the ruling: “It seems remarkable that, despite the disturbing accounts of two psychologists, Macdonald is now free to walk the streets. This decision sends out all the wrong signals.

“He may be under supervision for the next six years, but we cannot keep an eye on him 24 hours a day.”

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: “I have to wonder why some action was not taken in terms of mental health legislation. Certainly if this man were to offend again, the public would find it all rather hard to take.”

When Lord Dawson jailed Macdonald for attempted rape in 2002, he warned: “Unless someone is looking after you, you are likely to commit offences of this nature again.”

Macdonald, then of Falkirk, admitted attacking a schoolgirl with intent to rape her in Denny, Stirlingshire, in September 2001.

He was described by his then defence counsel Alan Mackay as a “sad and pathetic individual who spends his days abusing substances”.

Macdonald, who had previous convictions for sex offences, was on probation at the time of the attack.