Yob jailed for 'scaring' Edinburgh shopkeeper to death

A YOB who a 'scared' a popular Capital shopkeeper to death has been jailed.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 12:45 pm
David De Montfalcon
David De Montfalcon

Alan Rooney,35, placed David De Montfalcon,64, under so much stress that the father of three had a massive heart attack.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Friday how Rooney had walked into Mr De Montfalcon’s shop, the Emporium, which is located in the city’s Home Street on August 25 2018.

Rooney, who had been drinking, came into the store, picked up and acoustic guitar and smashed it against the floor before standing on the instrument.

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David De Montfalcon

He then tried to break an electric guitar over his knee and started shouting threats to people in the shop before smashing up glass cabinets and merchandise.

Moments afterwards, Rooney left the store but Mr De Montfalcon, who moved to Scotland from London to enjoy a better quality of life, fell seriously unwell.

Prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC told judge Lord Turnbull: “After the accused left, Mr De Montfalcon said he had never seen the accused before.

“The police arrived and started efforts to trace the accused. Mr De Montfalcon’s demeanour changed, he looked unwell and his tone of voice changed.

The scene outside Emporium at the time of the incident.

“He declined the offer of a drink. Mr De Montfalcon then collapsed. The police attended to him.

“An ambulance was called and Stephen Foster and David Thomson, paramedics attended and took over CPR.

“A pulse was briefly achieved. Mr De Montfalcon was given Adrenalin intravenously and was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.”

However, Mr Prentice said the efforts to save Mr De Montfalcon’s life was in vain - he later died in hospital.

The story emerged after Rooney, of Moredunvale Bank, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to a charge which stated he was responsible for the culpable homicide of Mr Rooney.

The charge stated that Rooney “culpably and recklessly” behaved in a in “aggressive” fashion and that he shouted, swore and made threatening and abusive remarks before destroying displaying cabinets and products within the shop.

Prosecutors stated that as a consequence of Rooney’s actions, Mr De Montfalcon, of Edinburgh, sustained a heart attack which caused him to die.

Mr Prentice told the court that Rooney’s victim had a history of heart problems - he undergone surgery in 2016 and had suffered a series of mini strokes.

The advocate depute said that Mr De Montfalcon had lived in London and worked as a publisher for 30 years before moving to Scotland. The court also heard he had a keen interest in magic.

Mr Prentice added: “The family moved to Scotland in 2004, choosing to live in Fife for a better quality of life. In 2013, the family moved to Edinburgh and opened a shop selling antiques and collectables similar to the present locus, the Edinburgh Emporium.

“Mr De Montfalcon opened the Edinburgh Emporium in 2015. He was passionate about collecting items, which he would research and find as requested for customers.

“When he was in his 20s, he was a member of the Magic Circle. He enjoying having premises opposite the Kings theatre and engaging with performers from the theatre.”

Mr Prentice also said that Mr De Montfalcon’s shop sold “a variety of quirky items” as well as art and musical instruments.

Moments before Rooney entered the shop at 2pm, Mr De Montfalcon had been enjoying a chat with a man called Damian Pinardi,38,.

Mr Prentice added: “The accused had been drinking alcohol during the course of the day. The accused shouted to the two customers present a number of threatening and abusive comments regarding the owner.

“The accused punched glass cabinets causing them to smash. Mr De Montfalcon was sitting at a desk in the back area of the shop. The accused then directed abuse towards the back area of the premises pointing and shouting.

“It appears that the accused was unaware that Mr De Montfalcon was the owner of the premises and that the abuse was not being directed at ant particular person present.

“The accused picked up an acoustic guitar and smashed it against the floor and stood on the guitar. He then picked up a guitar stand and used it to smash a glass cabinet.

“The accused tired to break an electric guitar over his knee. One of the customers left the shop, the other tried unsuccessfully to calm the accused down.

“Mr De Montfalcon tried to engage with the accused, saying ‘come on man’ trying to calm him down. The accused appeared oblivious to the Mr De Montfalcon being the owner.

“Mr De Montfalcon appeared to be scared. Mr De Montfalcon asked Mr Pinardi ‘has anyone phoned the police?’

“The accused started smashing further cabinets and merchandise.

“A passing fire engine’s siren appears to have prompted the accused to leave, running off towards the King’s Theatre.”

The court heard that Mr De Montfalcon collapsed shortly afterwards. Police arrested Rooney nearby at 2.25pm - however, he was so drunk that officers couldn’t interview him until he had sobered up at 6.30am the following day.

Mr Prentice said: “The accused was later interviewed and made no comment to all questions although he appeared to be visibly upset during the interview.”

Lord Turnbull deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports on Rooney’s character and background.

He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh in September 2019. Defence advocate John Scullion QC will give his mitigation then.

Pathologist Report

The court heard that passing American tourists tried to help Mr De Montfalcon pacify Rooney.

Mr Prentice told the court that pathologists concluded that Mr De Montfalcon’s heart had been enlarged but he would probably be alive had Rooney not walked into the shop.

Mr Prentice added: “The Crown accepts that the death was not the intended consequence of the accused’s actions but it is clear that the extreme nature of the accused’s conduct caused significant stress to Mr De Montfalcon and that led to his death.

“Had this incident not occurred, there is no indication that Mr De Montfalcon would have died that day.”

Remanding Rooney in custody, Lord Turnbull said he had read a victim impact statement submitted by Mr De Montfalcon’s wife.

He added: “That statement makes it clear that your conduct has resulted in the devastation of the life of Mr De Montfalcon’s family.

“Their whole life has been altered irretrievably as a consequence of your conduct and the premature death of a much loved father and husband.

“No sentence which the court can impose will undo the consequences of your behaviour nor can it alleviate the grief and upset suffered by Mr De Montfalcon’s wife and family.”

Before Rooney was led to the cells by court security guards, he heard Lord Turnbull say that he would impose a sentence which would reflect “society’s disgust and unwillingness to tolerate frightening and aggressive conduct.”