A THUG who caused thousands of pounds of damage to a historical city church has been jailed for three and a half years.
Lee Peattie, 34, went on the rampage at St Giles’ Cathedral in the Capital in June 2011, the city’s Sheriff Court heard.
The unemployed thug, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and racist conduct, smashed up ten wooden chairs before throwing them through two stained glass windows.
Peattie also damaged a stone which marked the life of great Scots reformer John Knox.
He was heard shouting and screaming incoherently as he caused £12,000 of damage to the place of worship.
His mindless behaviour also caused a large number of tourists to flee St Giles’.
The police officer who came to arrest Peattie feared so much for his safety that he pulled out his truncheon in the church.
However, Pc Craig Darling, 36, managed to apprehend the yob without having to use the weapon.
Peattie was convicted on breach of the peace and malicious damage charges on Wednesday. He had chosen to defend himself.
Today Lothians Conservative MSP David McLetchie welcomed the sentence and said: “For once it seems the punishment fits the crime. The sentence is appropriate given the appalling desecration of the church, the violent behaviour of the accused and the lengthy criminal record he has.
“It demonstrates that you can talk about rehabilitation of offenders as much as you like, but ultimately the protection of the public comes first. Sometimes there is no alternative but imprisonment.”
During a day-long trial, the court heard from Lynne Isharwood who was holidaying in Edinburgh.
Ms Isharwood, 52, a carer from Manchester, said she was “frightened” and “wary” at seeing Peattie lose the plot in the church’s Holy Cross aisle.
She said: “I was just about to say my prayers when I heard two loud bangs. There was a male in the little chapel. He was banging stuff on the floor and throwing stuff at the window.
“I was frightened. He seemed to be muttering. He didn’t appear to be in his right mind.”
When asked by Peattie whether she felt he posed a direct threat to her safety, she responded: “You were so engrossed in what you were doing.
“I’m a Christian. If I’m not safe in God’s house where can I be safe?”
Passing sentence Sheriff John Horsburgh QC said he had no option but to impose a custodial sentence.