A retired lorry driver accused of threatening to “eviscerate” a Dennyloanhead undertaker and stuff him in one of his own bodybags walked free from Falkirk Sheriff Court today.
Bonnybridge man Christopher Egan (56) was said to have made the threats when he confronted funeral director Graeme Easton when he was exercising his dog at a popular local beauty spot after Christmas, but Sheriff Craig Caldwell ruled there was no evidence to corroborate the “graphic allegations” made against him.
The court was told the alleged victim Mr Easton had let his young Doberman off the leash without noticing two men and a Sproodle – a spaniel/poodle cross – in Seabegs Woods.
The Doberman “bounded up” a track towards the men, whom Mr Easton claimed “had been in his blind spot”.
He retrieved his pet and put it back on the lead, and Mr Egan and the Sproodle owner, Andrew Moir, approached him.
Mr Easton claimed the ex-trucker then threatened him.
Mr Easton said: “Some of his language was choice. He pointed at my dog and asked if it had a pink tag?’
“I said the dog had indeed got a pink tag, as well as other colours of tag. He claimed my dog had attacked his dog on Boxing Day, his wife had come home hysterical, his dog had to go to the vet, and it was a £500 bill.”
Mr Easton (62) said he explained he had not been in the woods on Boxing Day, but Mr Egan supposedly then produced a knife and told him: “This is your one and only warning.
“You’re the undertaker from Dennyloandhead. If you come up here again I’ll cut you up and you’ll have to get in one of your own body bags.
“He produced a C-shaped knife and he indicated to me that he was going to eviscerate me. I tried to talk him down. I said I wasn’t up there on Boxing Day. He said if you ever come back you’re getting this, and he approached me with a home-made implement like a three-foot brush shaft with a spike in it.
“He said ‘this is my Taser for dogs’.”
Mr Easton claimed the two men then turned and walked off, and he put his dog back in his car and drove home to phone police.
He said: “I feared for my future and safety.”
Mr Egan, Laurel Grove, Bonnybridge, denied using threatening and abusive behaviour in the incident on December 29 last year.
He did not give evidence, but his companion, Andrew Moir, did.
Mr Moir (52) said he had been up in the woods with his Sproodle when he saw Mr Egan, his former neighbour, coming towards him, bent over on a walking stick.
Shortly afterwards he saw a car drive up and he noticed Mr Easton release his Doberman, that then “bolted” towards them.
Mr Moir said: “I’m glad Mr Egan had his walking stick, because it’s owner had no control over it.”
He said the animal “circled” them several times before returning to its owner, and once it was on a leash they went to speak to him.
He said he saw no weapons produced.
He said: “They were both being quite calm.”
Solicitor James Carmichael, defending, described the incident as “a contretemps” and said Mr Egan had simply been speaking to Mr Easton about the Boxing Day incident in which his own dog, a Jack Russell, had been attacked by a Doberman.
After a 45-minute summary trial, Sheriff Craig Caldwell found Mr Egan not guilty.
He said: “There being no other evidence to support Mr Easton’s graphic and clear allegations, Mr Egan falls to be acquitted.”
Mr Easton left the court without commenting.
Mr Egan said: “”I have complained to the justice secretary about the thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money that have been wasted on this case.”