Edinburgh crime: Dunbar driver Robbie Gemmell who killed teenage friends in 2013 crash avoids jail after shouting at police

Man who threatened to ‘slit the throats’ of police officers avoids jail

A man who killed three teenage friends in a horror car crash 10 years ago has escaped a jail term after he threatened to “slit the throats” of police officers.

Robbie Gemmell, 25, made the shocking threat to constables after he had been arrested following an incident in Haddington, East Lothian, last year. Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Gemmell also made homophobic comments to police while refusing to comply with requests to calm down.

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On Tuesday, fiscal depute Matthew Miller said police were called out to deal with “an ongoing disturbance” involving Gemmell at the town’s West Road at around 8.20pm on July 1 last year. The fiscal said Gemmell was “intoxicated” at the time and while being spoken to by officers he “repeatedly attempted to walk away from them”. Gemmell, from Dunbar, East Lothian, shouted “I’m not staying” and told the cops to “f*** off” before constables managed to get him under control.

Robbie Gemmell outside court in Edinburgh

Mr Miller told the court Gemmell was “behaving in an aggressive and unruly manner” during the incident and continued to shout abuse while being put into the back of a police vehicle. The court heard Gemmell’s behaviour included smashing his head against the inside of the police van and called the officers “poofs”. He also told the arresting officers he would “slit your f***ing throats” during his drunken outburst.

Solicitor Angela Craig, defending, said her client had been drinking on board a bus with a couple and following an argument he and the male got off at a stop in Haddington. The friend’s girlfriend called Police Scotland following the row leading to officers to attend at the scene.

Ms Craig said Gemmell admitted his conduct that evening had been “entirely unacceptable” and he was currently in a stable relationship and had a secure job with his father’s building business.

Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss fined Gemmell a total of £640 to mark the offence. Gemmell pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by acting aggressively, shouting, swearing, uttering threats of violence and offensive remarks at West Road, Haddington, and in the course of journey to St Leonard’s police station in Edinburgh on July 1 last year. The offence was aggravated by prejudice to sexual orientation. A plea of not guilty to assaulting PC Cara Miller by striking her to the body during the incident was accepted by prosecutors.

Gemmell was just 16 when he caused the deaths of school pals Joshua Stewart, 16, David Armstrong, 15, and 18-year-old Jenna Barbour when he lost control of a car and careered into a wall at Tyninghame, East Lothian, in 2013. He initially denied being behind the wheel and attempted to blame Jenna for the fatalities but eventually broke down and confessed to his father as he lay in hospital recovering from his injuries.

Following his guilty plea Gemmell was handed a four year driving ban and an unpaid work order after admitting to a charge of causing the deaths of the three teens by driving without due care and attention.

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