Community service for ‘Smurf’ who targeted Nicola Sturgeon with anti-gay message

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Richard MacFarlane, 55, was found guilty after a trial at the Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court last month for sending a hate-filled, anti-gay letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The three-page rant was filled with references to former SNP finance minister Derek Mackay as a “hack” and also contained many biblical quotes.

MacFarlane appeared in the dock at his trial while wearing a purple kilt, black leather jacket, Scottish rugby shirt and light blue paint covering his face.

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But the ex-soldier was put in his place by Sheriff John Cook, who likened him to a blue cartoon character and ordered him to wipe his face before the trial began.

The letter sent by MacFarlane, of Belchill, Lanarkshire, stated that he believed homosexuality “leads to pedophilia leading to sex with animals”.

The letter read: “Nicola has written to you before in good faith. There are only two types, and the anomaly is wrong, please in the name of Jesus, do not follow the fraudulent text.

“You are intentionally allowing yourself to be used to promote a demonic agenda.”

Sheriff Richard MacFarlane described him as looking like a Smurf because he appeared in court dressed in strange clothes and covered in face paint.

The offensive message also described the LBGTIQ community as a “Marxist organisation”.

A Scottish government employee spotted opening mail at the capital’s St. Andrews home in the disturbing comments and called on police to investigate on 17 February 2020.

Sheriff Cook found MacFarlane guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by sending the letter and postponing the sentence.

The unemployed HGV driver has returned to the dock where he is placed on a community pay order and will have to perform 80 hours of unpaid community work.

During the trial MacFarlane represented himself but failed to ask any questions to the witnesses and gave a long, intermittent speech before the court claiming that “Christ is in his second coming”.

He said former Treasury Secretary Derek Mackay’s shameful continuing to serve as an MSP student and claim expenses despite resigning amid scandal prompted him to write to Ms Sturgeon. #

He said: “The letter was prompted because I felt our Father motivated me to tell Nicola, not out of hate but out of love.

MacFarlane said: “I was somewhat upset that he was continuing his work in the Scottish Parliament and was demanding expenditures in the thousands of pounds.

“I felt at the time that I really needed to tell Nicola that the guy who was fired didn’t go far enough. He shouldn’t have been MSP anymore.”

He then completed his address to the mayor by reciting the hymn “Once for Every Man and Nation” by James Russell Lowell.

Speaking out of court after the trial, MacFarlane said he believed the sheriff was “very fair” in his judgment and that he was “fairly pleased” with the way the trial went.

He said, “I told the mayor that I was being identified as William Wallace, but he said I should consider my position at his court to sound like a Smurf.

“To be fair, I knew he would find me guilty, but it comes down to people’s perceptions.

“I admitted I wrote the letter but it was just a dig at Nicola.”

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