Guilty verdict for ex-fisherman who suggested Nicola Sturgeon should be assassinated for treason
An elderly ex-fisherman has been found guilty of threatening the assassination of Nicola Sturgeon after he accused her of “treason” and “criminal activities”.
William Curtis, 70, sent threatening online messages relating to the First Minister on various occasions between Feb 27 and March 6 2019.
He also targeted Stewart Stevenson, an SNP MSP at the time, with an online threat that suggested he would suffer the same fate as Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was murdered by Thomas Mair in 2016.
Jurors at Glasgow High Court also ruled that Curtis and another man, Philip Mitchell, 60, assaulted and abducted a sheriff in a car park in Banff, Aberdeenshire, in June 2021.
The trial heard of an initial “threatening” email which Ms Sturgeon’s office intercepted on Feb 27 2019 sent from a “Billy Curtis”.
Curtis, who previously led fishing expeditions, signed off one of his messages about the First Minister as from “The Skipper xxxx”.
During the trial, Chris McKenna, an advocate depute, read out a Facebook post from an account in the name of “William Patrick Curtis” that was flagged to John Skinner, Ms Sturgeon’s office manager, on March 6 2019.
He claimed it was his intention to carry out a citizen’s arrest of the First Minister “to answer her treason”.
It added that “serious people” believed that her “criminal activities warrants assassination of her and sevreal [sic] of her ministers.”
An earlier message said: “We do not intend to harm her, but if her security attempt to stop the rights of a citizen’s arrest on an ongoing crime… Well, as the police are so good at saying, reasonable force will be used.”
In a message to Mr Stevenson, he sent a YouTube video link relating to Mrs Cox’s murder with the message: “Your time is coming, for that you can be sure.”
Curtis was found guilty of three charges of threatening and abusive behaviour towards the First Minister and Mr Stevenson, as well as to a former neighbour and local housing officer.
He and Mitchell were also convicted of the assault and abduction of Sheriff Robert McDonald in June 2021.
Mitchell wrestled the 67-year-old to the ground near Banff Sheriff Court before sitting on top of him in June 2021. Curtis stood nearby filming on his phone while encouraging his accomplice.
Lord Weir deferred sentencing on both for reports.
Curtis denied all accusations and attempted to pin the blame on his former partner Alyson Gould, 65, for targeting Mr Stevenson.
However, she said that Curtis had an “issue” with the former MSP and that he sounded off “24/7, seven days a week” about his “political views”.