Edinburgh council official convicted of stalking ex-girlfriend

Ronnie Hunter
Ronnie Hunter

THE Treasury and Banking Finance Manager of Edinburgh City Council faces having a tag strapped to his ankle after being convicted of stalking a senior council social work manager and inquiring about buying a house in her street.

Ronnie Hunter, 56, a member of Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, could also be served with a non-harassment order and sentenced to unpaid work after loitering “almost daily” near Annabelle Cameron’s home.

Ms Cameron, social services planning and commissioning officer for Clackmannshire Council, dated Hunter for almost three years before ending their relationship in 2017 but a court heard Hunter “wouldn’t accept it was over”.

He began driving from his home in Glasgow’s Garnethill to hers in Bridge of Allan and parking “almost daily” in Ms Cameron’s street -- ignoring the “generous” and more convenient free station car park and getting a train to his Edinburgh office. He has worked for Edinburgh City Council for over 11 years, after leaving the National Australia Bank. Questioned by police, Hunter explained he was thinking about buying a house in Annabelle’s road.

A veteran international athlete who has run for Scotland and Great Britain, Hunter also began training and coaching with a group based at nearby Stirling University.

Ms Cameron, 57, told Stirling Sheriff Court that Hunter had “frightened the life out of her” and made her get counselling. She said: “We were over, we were finished, I didn’t understand why he was still wandering round the streets and hanging about. He was always there in my face, somewhere near my house.”

Ms Cameron said before they split up, Hunter used to drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh and park in the South Gyle to take public transport into Edinburgh.

But after they finished, he changed his routine, parking in Bridge of Allan and getting the train from there “almost every day”.

She said: “Sometimes he walked past the house four times, coming from the train station and walking round in a huge circle to get back to his car. His car was there so often it was like another house being built in the street.

“I was living on my nerves, falling apart. He just wouldn’t go away. It got to the stage that I dreaded coming home because I knew his car was going to be there.”

Another female resident in the area -- who had no idea of Hunter’s links to Ms Cameron -- became so concerned about his constant presence that after a couple of months she began to keep a log of his visits, which she handed police.

Hunter, from Garnethill, denied stalking, but elected not to give evidence.

His solicitor, Stephen Maguire, said Hunter hoped to set up home in Bridge of Allan with a new partner and had decided to drive there instead of Edinburgh because he had found the daily commute down the M8 “too stressful”.

Sheriff Simon Collins found Hunter guilty of stalking between April and November last year. Sentence was deferred until June 5th for background reports, including a Restriction of Liberty (tagging) Order Assessment.