Woman brandished axe outside Falkirk church

The People's Church in West Bridge Street, Falkirk
The People's Church in West Bridge Street, Falkirk

A woman is facing jail after brandishing an axe outside a Pentecostal church only yards from a police station.

Veronica Stewart was angry because she claimed members of the congregation had attacked her sick father at a Christian convention.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard Stewart (23) and her youngster sister Chantelle (20) turned up at The People’s Church in West Bridge Street, Falkirk at about 8pm just as a Sunday evening service had ended.

Susan Campbell, prosecuting, said both women entered the foyer just as the church – which is directly opposite Falkirk Police Station – was emptying.

Both women were heard shouting and threatening two female members of the congregation.

The sisters then left, and returned in a white van.

Miss Campbell said: “Veronica Stewart got out of the van in possession of a small axe, which she was waving above her head.

“She was shouting, but it was not clear what was being said.

“Chantelle Stewart also got out of the van and was shouting.”

Veronica Stewart was then seen damaging a car parked nearby, which belonged to a member of the congregation.

The court heard that £3200 worth of damage was caused.

The sisters were quickly traced, arrested, and charged.

Chantelle told officers, “I never did nothing”, while after caution Veronica made no reply.

The sisters, of Polmont Road, Laurieston, pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive behaviour.

The incident occurred on June 26 last year.

Defence agent Simon Hutchison, for Chantelle Stewart, said there was “a very emotional background”.

He said: “The People’s Church is my client’s own church.

“Her father had been seriously assaulted at a Christian convention, while he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

“The incident came to court, but because of her father’s health, it wasn’t proceeded with.

“This incident was fresh in my client’s mind.

“She comes from a very religious family, and they don’t take lightly to this kind of behaviour outside a church.

“Even more stupidly, it took place right across the road from the police station, when there were dozens, if not a hundred, people there, including the Pastor, a deacon, and an off duty police officer.”

Veronica Stewart’s solicitor, Willie McIntyre, said his client had intended talk to people about what had happened to her dad at the Christian convention.

He said: “She can’t believe she allowed the red mist to come down.”

Sheriff Derek Livingston deferred sentence on Veronica until April 27 for background reports.

He said: “I’ll be looking to see if there’s an alternative to custody.

“She had an axe and was behaving in this way at a church at a time when people had gone to pray.”

He deferred sentence on Chantelle, a mother-of-one and first offender, for three months for her to be of good behaviour.

He said: “It’s all her sister’s fault – a bad influence.”