Postman faces letter of the law for hiding 2500 items of mail in attic

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A POSTMAN is facing a jail sentence after stashing thousands of letters and parcels in his attic.

Gary Kinghorn claimed the job had become too much for him after his brother had been charged with murder.

Kinghorn, 46, was employed by the Royal Mail to make deliveries to homes and businesses in Musselburgh, East Lothian. But instead of doing his rounds, Kinghorn concealed 2500 pieces of mail in his car and his attic.

Depute fiscal Fiona Caldwell told Haddington Sheriff Court suspicions first arose concerning Kinghorn in May when a customer phoned to complain about two birthday cards that had not been delivered.

Further investigations revealed several other customers had complained about not receiving their mail around the same time.

A Royal Mail investigation was then carried out and a number of test packages were put into the mail system in a bid to catch the postman out.

When Royal Mail officials confronted Kinghorn at his home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, about the missing mail, he eventually owned up and admitted he had thousands of packages hidden away in his attic and his car.

Ms Caldwell said: “During a search of his attic, 12 assorted bags containing a large quantity of mail were recovered, and following a search of his private car a further six assorted bags containing numerous postal packages were also recovered.

“The accused was then interviewed, and during the interview he explained his brother had been charged with murder and he had to deal with his family, the police and the procurator fiscal in relation to that. As a result, matters had got on top of him.”

At Haddington Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Kinghorn admitted an amended charge of being a postal operator who, without reasonable excuse, intentionally delayed or opened a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post and that he deliberately and intentionally delayed 2500 addressed postal packets between January 1 and July 11 while working at Musselburgh delivery office.

Defence agent Colm Dempsey told the court the missing post had not been opened and the crime was not borne out of any “dishonest intention” by Kinghorn.

Sheriff Peter Braid described Kinghorn’s crime as “a serious matter” and his failure to deliver the mail was a “gross breach of his duty”.

Sheriff Braid deferred sentence until next month to obtain reports.

Kinghorn, who had been employed by the Royal Mail in a part-time capacity for just seven months, was initially suspended following a Royal Mail investigation in July and was eventually sacked in August. A Royal Mail spokeswomen said: “Royal Mail has a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and that stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women who do all they can to protect the mail and deliver it safely.

“We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust.”

Kinghorn’s brother, Derek, 44, was jailed for life after murdering a drinking partner who had made a joke about his mother during an incident in Hawick in November 2011.

Derek Kinghorn had denied repeatedly stabbing Brian Mair, 45, on the head and body but was found guilty in August.

He was told the minimum period he would serve before any possibility of release would be 18 years.