By Cara Sulieman
A HOTELIER who threatened to kill paramedics and police officers has avoided jail over the alcohol fuelled abuse.
William Preston was sentenced to 160 hours of community service today after he was convicted last month.
Initially the 58-year-old was accused of smashing a glass over the head of an American tourist who was staying at his hotel.
The jury found him not guilty of the assault, but he pled guilty to the breach of the peace during the trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in July.
Sentencing him, Sheriff Mhairi Stephen said that alcohol was the underlying factor in the hotel owner’s behaviour.
Preston’s lawyer, Nigel Bruce, said that his client had taken steps to address his alcohol problem and was even hoping to sell the hotel where the incident took place.
Both Preston and American Samuel Hogue, 25, were injured in an incident in the bar of Hotel Ceilidh-Donia on Marchhall Crescent in Edinburgh on August 24 last year.
The pair had been drinking late into the night after Preston returned from a night out with his wife Annette and started dishing out free drinks.
Preston and Mr Hogue had gotten into an argument about the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
Both men had ended up injured, Preston with a cut hand and Mr Hogue with injuries to his head.
But when police and paramedics tried to help the injured Preston he shouted and swore at them, threatening to kill them and refused treatment.
Mr Bruce said that his client was doing all he could to make sure a similar incident never happened again.
He told the court: “Mr Preston and his wife are in the process of trying to sell the business with the view of purchasing a guest house, an unlicensed guest house.
“He is taking steps to minimise the likelihood of this behaviour occurring again.”
Although the two men had been arguing about the released of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi just days earlier, Sheriff Stephen said that the cause of Preston’s behaviour was more likely to be the amount of alcohol he had consumed.
She went on to say that it is a problem in Scotland that needs to be addressed.
She said: “In no little part we are over wedded to the idea that hospitality has to be associated with overconsumption of alcohol.
“A degree of measured discretion is necessary with how you deal with alcohol.
“You were previously law abiding and now got this conviction for breach of the peace, which is aggravated because of the people that had to endure your ill tempered and abusive behaviour.
Preston was sentenced to 160 hours community service for the breach of the peace.