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Man armed with air pistol threatened to shoot girlfriend’s brother in ‘terrifying ordeal’


A man armed with an air pistol has been jailed for subjecting the family of a coach hire boss to what a sheriff called “a terrifying ordeal”.

Neal O’Donnell, 28, pointed the gun at his partner’s brother after family members went to support her during a domestic row.

Derek Dewar Jnr reacted by punching O’Donnell to the face and disarmed him.

A court heard that Mr Dewar Jnr had been asked by his father, Derek Dewar Snr., 61, boss of Falkirk bus company Dewar Coaches, to go to his daughter Ami’s house in Camelon, Falkirk, to check on his mother Linda, who had gone over there earlier.

When Mr Dewar Jnr got there, he saw O’Donnell acting aggressively.



Neal ODonnell

O’Donnell then produced “what appeared to be a small black handgun”.

Prosecutor Ramsay Cunningham said: “Mrs Dewar saw the accused pointing the handgun at her son.

“He was heard to say, ‘I’ll shoot yous.’

“He then lowered the gun to his side, and at the same time Derek Dewar Jnr moved towards him, hit him, and removed the handgun from his grasp.”

Mr Dewar Jnr took gun to his parents’ home nearby, to get it away from the scene, and immediately phoned police.



GV of Falkirk Sheriff Court

O’Donnell continued to shout and swear, uttering threats to damage property, while his partner of seven years, Ami Dewar, tried to restrain him.

Mr Cunningham said: “This resulted in a struggle between them, and O’Donnell pushed Ami to the ground, pinned her by the neck, and shouted, ‘Don’t make me do this, Ami’.”

She managed to get free, and Mr Dewar Snr then saw O’Donnell with a plank of wood, with which he “repeatedly struck” a Seat Ibiza car parked in a nearby street, and also struck a parked VW Caddy van.

Both vehicles, which belonged to a neighbour, were scratched and damaged, and the wing mirror of the van was knocked off.

Police arrived about 10.20 pm, by which time O’Donnell had walked off, and recovered the handgun, which firearms officers then made sure was safe.

Mr Cunningham said the gun was “an air weapon sufficiently powerful to constitute a firearm”.

O’Donnell returned about half an hour later and was arrested.

Miss Dewar sustained “a red mark to the neck” as a result of the incident, which occurred on April 21st 2020.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that in the run-up to the incident, O’Donnell had returned intoxicated to the home in Fairlie Drive, Camelon, which he then shared with Ami.

Mr Cunningham, the depute fiscal, said he had called Ami “a boot” and threatened to set on fire a motorcycle belonging to her brother, Derek Dewar jnr.

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She then heard a glass bottle smash and saw a small fire burning on the pavement about five yards from where her brother had recently parked his motorbike.

O’Donnell, unemployed, of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, pleaded guilty to domestic assault to injury, possessing a firearm with intent to cause someone to believe that violence would be used against them, vandalism, and statutory breach of the peace.

Defence agent Gordon Addison said his client had been socialising.

He said: “It appears it was unacceptable for him to have returned home drunk during the course of the pandemic, and that seems to have been the root cause of the argument.”

He said O’Donnell had “grabbed a disused black air pistol” with no pellets, and no gas canister, meaning it could not have been fired.

He added that O’Donnell’s comments were “kind of mock bravado in drink”.

He said: “From time to time he drinks far too much.”

Jailing O’Donnell for 15 months, Sheriff Craig Harris said he had subjected the Dewars to “a terrifying ordeal”.





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