Edinburgh Council finance boss spared jail after stalking woman for months

Ronnie Hunter
Ronnie Hunter
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A council finance boss who stalked his ex for seven months has been spared jail - but banned from an entire town.

Former international athlete Ronnie Hunter, 56, who now works for Edinburgh City Council as its treasury and banking finance manager, was excluded from Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, for 18 months.

Stirling Sheriff Court

Stirling Sheriff Court

Sheriff Simon Collins also sentenced Hunter to 200 hours of unpaid work.

He rejected Hunter’s lawyer’s plea that the former GB runner should continue to be allowed to train on 1371ft Dumyat Hill, a classic hill race venue, in Bridge of Allan.

He said: “Mr Hunter has all of Scotland to train in. He does not have to use this particular part of this particular town to do so.”

Hunter, of Garnethill, Glasgow, a Chartered Banker and a veteran athlete who has run for Scotland and Great Britain, appeared for sentence at Stirling Sheriff Court after being found guilty last month of stalking his former lover, Annabelle Cameron, by loitering “almost daily” near her home in Bridge of Allan between April and November last year and staring at her. He had denied the charge.

Stephen Maguire, defending, said Hunter’s career was now in question.

He said: “There are implications potentially in respect of his professional life and the fall out from that is yet to be clarified.

“There was a misreading and misunderstanding about Ms Cameron’s feelings.”

The court heard Ms Cameron, 57, a social services planning and commissioning officer for Clackmannshire Council, dated Hunter over almost three years, before ending their relationship in 2017 - but Hunter “wouldn’t accept it was over”.

He then began driving almost daily from his home in Glasgow to Bridge of Allan and parking in her street - ignoring the “large and more convenient” free station car park - and getting a train to his Edinburgh office.

He began training and coaching with a group based at nearby Stirling University and came close to exchanging missives on a house in Annabelle’s own road.

Ms Cameron said Hunter had “frightened the life out of her” and made her get counselling.

She said she couldn’t understand why he was “still wandering round the streets” and “hanging about with a clipboard” near her home after they finished.

She said: “His car was in my street so often it was like another house being built. I was living on my nerves, falling apart. He just wouldn’t go away.

“It got to the stage that I dreaded coming home.”

Sheriff Collins said first-offender Hunter, an old boy of top private school Morrisons Academy, Crieff, had “persisted in a serious offence over a number of months”.

He said: “He has to stay away from this woman and the areas where she lives.

“In many such cases, a similar offence would require the court to pass a custodial sentence.”

He said the sentence he imposed - the community payback order with unpaid work, and an 18 month non-harassment order banning him from Bridge of Allan - was a direct alternative to prison.

Leaving court, Hunter told a reporter: “No comment, thank you.”

Hunter has worked for Edinburgh City Council for over 11 years, after leaving the National Australia Bank.

He notes his voluntary interests on LinkedIn as “Media Team Leader - World Athletics Championships; Track & Field Support -Commonwealth Games” adding that he uses “in-depth knowledge of track and field events at major athletics championships (world/Commonwealth and Olympic games) to work with teams to ensure the effective running of events and to coordinate the media management of such events”.

Last year he won the Silver Jubilee Trophy for the best age-graded performance by a male Scottish Veteran Harriers member at the Scottish Masters Outdoor Championships with a time of 12.57 seconds in the 100 metres.