Livingston family’s nightmare as husband attacked relatives at top country hotel
A Livingston father took his family for a weekend break at a luxury spa resort - and beat up his wife, his daughter, his brother-in-law and his elderly mother-in-law.
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David Mitchell battered his 78-year-old mother-in-law Nancy Bell with a metal pole and grappled his brother-in-law David Smith into a headlock on the hotel floor.
Mitchell, 53, subjected his extended family to a violent rampage during the weekend break at the Moness House Hotel resort in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, last month.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that the string of violent attacks took place the day after Mitchell had attacked wife Fiona Mitchell at their family home in Livingston.
The violence only came to an end after hotel staff were called in to help the victims and the police arrested first offender Mitchell.
Fiscal depute Sean Maher said: "They had been married over 20 years with no previous incidents. A witness in the house could hear raised voices from the garden.
"It would appear he was taking umbrage over his wife's friendship with a male neighbour. The voices increased in pitch and volume.
"He pushed his wife forcibly by the arm, causing her to fall through the open patio doors and land inside the house. Mrs Mitchell went to bed and he remained in the garden.
"That matter, on 23 July, was not reported to the police at that stage. On 24 July all of the parties were at Moness House Hotel. They sat down for dinner and the accused became agitated with Fiona Mitchell.
"This culminated in him striking her to the face with an open hand. Sarah Mitchell, 18, went to her mother's defence, berating him verbally, and the parties were shouting at each other."
The rest of the party left and Mitchell returned to the lodge they had hired and barricaded himself inside and pulled the curtains shut. The court was told the others were concerned for his safety.
"Concerned that the accused may harm himself, David Smith summoned assistance from staff at the resort to help him effect entry. Entry was forced and Mitchell was found in the bathroom, apparently asleep.
"Having been roused, he began to grapple with Mr Smith. The other witnesses went to get more assistance. Mr Smith found himself on the bedroom floor, being held in a headlock by the accused.
"A member of staff tried to reason with the accused but that was unsuccessful. Others helped and they eventually managed to release him from his grip.
"A short time later James and Nancy Bell became aware of the disagreement. She saw him approach their accommodation and he appeared angry and aggressive.
"Fearing for her safety, she went to secure the door. As she tried to close the door she was struck on the left hand with a metal pole. Mitchell accused her of sending Mr Smith to his accommodation.
"She tried to reason with him, but he stormed off," Mr Maher told the court. Mitchell was arrested and denied any involvement - claiming he had been attacked in his sleep.
Mitchell sat shame-faced in the dock as he admitted five charges of assault in Livingston and at Moness House Hotel.
Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: "He had taken medication - more than he should have - and it was a very dangerous thing to do.
"He has not had a drink since and he has no real recollection of being at Moness resort. It was a family matter that went wrong. He has been a man of good character."
Sheriff Neil Bowie ordered Mitchell, now living in Edinburgh, to carry out 140 hours unpaid work in the community. He said: "Given the information before me this conduct appears to be very much out of character."