Glasgow & West Scotland

Man jailed for shining laser pen at Police Scotland helicopter

Colin Lochrie Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Colin Lochrie admitted shining the laser pen at the helicopter

A man who admitted shining a laser pen at a police helicopter flying over Glasgow has been jailed for 14 months.

Colin Lochrie, 31, targeted the aircraft on 28 November 2013, causing the pilot to take evasive action.

He was caught after officers were alerted and traced Lochrie to his home in the city's west end.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the aircraft was piloted by Captain David Traill the day before he died in the Clutha crash. Nine others also died.

'Serious crime'

Jailing Lochrie, Sheriff Bill Totten told him: "I wish to emphasise that this is not a case in which Mr Lochrie made a deliberate attempt to impair the pilot's vision."

He told him that he did deliberately shine the laser beam at the helicopter and has accepted his guilt and "there is a clear need to punish anyone who commits this serious crime".

Lochrie was jailed for 14 months, reduced from 18 months for pleading guilty.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Captain David Traill, who was flying the helicopter at the time, died in the Clutha crash the next day

The court heard that the helicopter was targeted at about 16:45 while returning from a task in the Dumbarton area.

As it flew over the west end of Glasgow, the pilot and crew, Constables Niall McLaren and David Graham, became aware of the green laser light beam being directed towards the helicopter.

The light beam repeatedly illuminated the cockpit and the court was told that Captain Traill took evasive action to avoid his vision being impaired.

Buddhism lectures

Footage from the police helicopter was played to the court showing a green laser light being repeatedly shone towards the cockpit.

Information about the incident was passed to officers who were on foot patrol locally.

They were able to identify a particular room within a tenement block at Cecil Street in the west end of Glasgow.

Lochrie answered the door to the police and told them: "I was shining the laser at the helicopter because I wanted to see what it was doing.

"It wasn't meant to put people in danger"

He handed over the laser pen and was arrested.

The court heard that Lochrie bought the pen from an online retailer and used it when he occasionally gave some lectures to friends in relation to Zen Buddhism."

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