Policeman threatened to kill his girlfriend after she complained that he hadn't cleaned her shirt ready for work

  • PC John Forsyth attacked ex partner Paula MacLeod in a row over chores
  • Court heard he covered her mouth and nose leaving her unable to breathe
  • He also threatened to kill her and himself leaving victim in 'fear for her life'
  • Forsyth was spared jail but could face a disciplinary with Police Scotland 

John Forsyth (pictured) threatened to kill his ex partner Paula MacLeod and himself in the row over household chores a court heard

John Forsyth (right) threatened to kill his ex partner Paula MacLeod (left) and himself in the row over household chores, a court heard

A police officer attacked and threatened to kill his partner - after she blamed him for not having a clean shirt for work.

Paula MacLeod was left 'in fear of her life' after John Forsyth forced her to the floor, covering her mouth and nose with his hand leaving her unable to breathe, a court heard.

The 47-year-old then threatened to kill both her and himself in the row over household chores.

Forsyth, a constable with Police Scotland, was spared a jail sentence when he appeared at Tain Sheriff Court in the Highland area of Scotland, yesterday.

But he could now face disciplinary action or even be sacked from the force.

The couple fell out early on 16 January after his partner blamed him because she did not have a clean shirt for her 5am shift, procurator fiscal Alison Wylie told the court.

When Ms MacLeod came home from work at 10.30am she was still angry with him and the pair did not speak for the rest of the day.

Ms Wylie said the couple did not sleep together that night and when Ms MacLeod went to work she started texting Forsyth and told him he did not do enough to help around the house. 

Ms Wylie said: 'She berated him for not doing enough for her and doing more for others. There appears to have been text messages back and forth about household chores.' 

The simmering argument erupted into violence around 5.30pm on 17th January after his partner told Forsyth to leave the house. 

He refused and it was then that the assault took place.

Ms Wylie said: 'He pushed her on to a leather couch, pointed in her face and shouted and swore at her.

'She went to sit in another couch but the accused approached her shouting and swearing in her face, calling her names and making derogatory sexual comments.

'She got up again and he grabbed her and put her on the floor. She said he did it the way a police officer would put someone on the ground.

'He put his hand on her mouth and nose and said he was going to kill her and then himself.

'She was unable to breath and was genuinely in fear of her life.'

Forsyth got up and his partner made for the kitchen. He followed her and kicked the kitchen table towards her. She then went upstairs with her dog and locked herself in the bathroom.

Forsyth left the house but began sending text messages to his partner.

The fiscal said: 'He was apologising and said goodbye and to tell his daughter that he loved her.'

Police arrived at the house at 8.50pm to find Forsyth's partner in a 'petrified state, crying inconsolably and shaking'. She did not want to be left alone.

Officers traced Forsyth at 4.40am on 18th January at a friend's house in Inverness. He admitted the incident but said he did not mean the threats.

He appeared at a previous court to admit a charge of assault and another charge of threatening and abusive behaviour. 

Forsyth, a constable with Police Scotland, was spared a jail sentence when he appeared at Tain Sheriff Court in the Highland area of Scotland, yesterday

Forsyth, a constable with Police Scotland, was spared a jail sentence when he appeared at Tain Sheriff Court in the Highland area of Scotland, yesterday

Defence agent Ken Ferguson tried to postpone the case again for a psychiatric report but was overruled after Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood heard Forsyth was keen for it to go ahead.

Mr Ferguson said his client was a serving police officer but was off-duty at the time.

He said: 'My client very much regrets his behaviour and appears today as a first offender. There are detailed background reports setting out his situation.

'He is currently living with his parents as a condition of bail and it does appear likely that the parties will reconcile.' 

Forsyth, currently off sick from Police Scotland, was sentenced to a community payback order. 

A police spokesman said: 'A thorough and determined investigation by the domestic abuse investigation unit revealed that an officer had committed an act of domestic abuse.

'The officer's behaviour fell well below what Police Scotland would expect of its officers and a report on these circumstances will now be prepared by the Professional Standards Department.'

Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood queried Forsyth's current employment status and the lawyer responded that he was off sick because of health difficulties. No final decision had been taken as to whether he could continue with Police Scotland.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Fleetwood said: 'The report is in favour of a CPO and I can see no reason to depart from that. An attack of this sort is one which could attract a custodial sentence and a CPO is an alternative to that.'

Special conditions attached to the order require Forsyth to carry out 120 hours' unpaid work; be under social work supervision for a year; and attend any domestic abuse programme as directed by social workers.  

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