Angry pensioner pushed over boy, four, who soaked him with sprinkler at Edinburgh's botanic gardens

A grumpy pensioner assaulted a young child during a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) after the lad sprayed him and his family with water.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:45 pm

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

Peter Milburn grabbed the four-year-old boy and pushed him on the body causing the boy to fall over at the popular tourist attraction in 2019.

Milburn, 70, was angry the child had picked up a sprinkler and splashed his family with water - including his baby grandchild who was in a pram at the time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sprinkler row: Peter Milburn

The lad was said to have been left “upset and crying” after being shoved to the ground by the OAP.

Procurator fiscal depute Janet MacDonald told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that the child and his mother were at the RBGE at around 1.50pm on July 20, 2019.

Ms MacDonald said: “[The child] was playing with other children on the green with a sprinkler system.

“The children moved the sprinkler to soak one another. They moved the sprinkler system to the path area which was getting wet.

“The mother observed the accused walking towards [the child] and grabbed his right arm and made contact with the left side of his ribs and aggressively pushed him to the ground.”

The mother of the child approached Milburn, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, and told him “You have assaulted my son” and the police were contacted.

The fiscal added the mother of the child had been aware her son had been “soaking people on the path” but did nothing to stop the behaviour.

Solicitor Joe Boyd, defending, said his Milburn had travelled to court from his home in England for the court hearing and had never been in trouble before.

Mr Boyd said: “My client and his wife and his extended family were in Edinburgh on holiday at this particular time and were walking around the Botanic Garden.

“Suddenly my client became aware that both him and members of his family - most importantly his grandchild who was just a baby in a pram - got considerably wet.

“This came out of the blue and caused significant distress, in particular to the baby.

“The child continued to fire, I suppose, the water at my client and his family.”

Mr Boyd said the child had been “left unsupervised” during the soaking and Milburn had “attempted to take the hose from him”.

The lawyer added: “What happened after that is very unfortunate. It certainly wasn’t his attention to cause harm to the child.”

Sheriff Peter McCormack said: “This is an unusual case and an unusual locus in my experience.

“I cannot help but observe that if there had been a bit more parental supervision then this might not have occurred at all.”

The sheriff warned Milburn of his future behaviour and admonished him on the charge.

Milburn pleaded guilty to assaulting the four-year-old boy by pushing him on the body and causing him to fall to the ground at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, on July 26, 2019.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.