Chainsaw “attack” on neighbour was a drunken accident

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By Michael MacLeod

A MAN has been cleared of attacking his neighbour with a chainsaw after the victim confessed it was an accident.

James Weir
Acquitted: James Weir walks free from court

James Weir, 42, was said to have started up a chainsaw and sliced open ex-postman Alan Flockhart’s arm.

But assault charges against him were dropped during the first day of a trial today (Mon) when Flockhart, 37, admitted he lied to police to try and protect his neighbour from being arrested.

Instead, detectives saw through Flockhart’s lies and charged him with wasting police time.

Mr Weir always denied the three charges of assault, brandishing a chainsaw and lying to police.

Flockhart told Edinburgh Sheriff Court of how the pair had drank “a whole bottle of Sambuca each” before going back to his Edinburgh flat on August 30 last year.

He said: “We went back to mine and were very drunk.

“I was leaning on a cupboard in the kitchen when the chainsaw started up and he came towards me.

“I tried to pull my arm out the way. It caught my tracksuit top and I got a big cut on my arm.”

“Pack of lies”

Mr Flockhart showed jury members what he said was a scar on his right arm, running from his elbow to his wrist.

But he later confessed in court that the attack was actually an accident, and that he “panicked” and made up “a pack of lies” to try and keep his neighbour out of trouble.

Instead, both were charged seven weeks later – Mr Weir with assault and Flockhart with wasting police time.

Alan Flockhart
Alan Flockhart: "I told a pack of lies"

Flockhart said: “I told police a pack of lies because I was fearful of the situation.

“Mr Weir was my friend and I didn’t want anybody to get into trouble over this.

“I wasn’t thinking straight and I panicked. I had had a whole bottle of sambuca that day.

“I told police some white men had attacked me outside my front door.”

But cops were immediately suspicious that there was no blood at the door; it was only found inside his flat, in the city’s Dumbryden Gardens.

Flockhart added: “Mr Weir was upset at what happened.

“We discussed that we weren’t going to tell the straight story, that it wasn’t an accident.

“We agreed to say I was attacked at my front door by some men.”

Court heard a recording of a police interview in which he gave cops a story about three men hacking at his arm with a chainsaw.

Compensation

He even told them: “Honest, I’m not making it up.”

Mr Weir’s defence agent Paul Dunn quizzed Flockhart over why he had lied that a gang had attacked him.

Mr Dunn suggested that Flockhart cut himself with the chainsaw to seek compensation cash.

But Flockhart said: “I have seen adverts on the television about compensation but never in a million years did I cut myself with a chainsaw.

“I accept that it was an accident.

“It’s not a very nice thing getting a chainsaw through your arm.

“But I wanted to divert the attention and protect my friend, James Weir. I don’t know what could have followed.”

On hearing Flockhart’s admissions, fiscal depute Melanie Ward told Sheriff James Scott: “I am not seeking any further evidence.”

The Sheriff told Mr Weir: “You are acquitted and free to go.”

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