Glasgow court marks and bans ex-lawyer from leaving home the night after stalking conviction

A former lawyer who harassed a woman with gifts and text messages has avoided jail time.

David McPherson stalked Rachel O’Neill between February and May 2020.

The 35-year-old sent flowers to Miss O’Neill for her work at a gymnasium in Shawlands and continued to bombard her with messages after she rejected him.

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McPherson found himself even more annoyed when he groped a 16-year-old girl outside a bank.

McPherson – who had a traffic conviction – pleaded guilty in Glasgow Sheriff’s Court to harassing Miss O’Neill and sexually assaulting the teenager.

Sheriff Charles Lugton ordered McPherson to do 135 hours of unpaid labor and tagged him for 90 days by keeping him indoors between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

He was also placed under surveillance and placed on the sex offender register for two years.

The court heard McPherson – who practiced in Kilmarnock – originally sent a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne to Miss O’Neill in February 2020.

The accompanying card read, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Rachel.”

McPherson sent another bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates 12 days later.

This card read: “Hi Rachel, if you want a coffee, text me, from your secret admirer, David.”

Miss O’Neill texted thanking McPherson for the articles to which he replied that she was “welcome”.

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McPherson sent other messages, including two photos of himself to which the victim did not respond.

He then asked Miss O’Neill for coffee, to which she replied, “I see someone else, I wish you all the best.”

McPherson replied that he was “heartbroken” and another message regarding her body before asking to meet her at a park near her former home in Whitecraigs.

Prosecutor Darren Harty said: “It alarmed her as she walked through that park.

“He sent another message saying ‘Talk to me Rachel, I’m lonely like you’.

“Miss O’Neill messaged McPherson saying ‘I told you I’m not interested, stop contacting me’.”

Police were contacted after McPherson threatened to end his life and he was arrested.

The court was then told the 16-year-old was near a Royal Bank of Scotland in Shawlands on April 1, 2020.

Mr Harty said: ‘McPherson approached the victim from behind and grabbed her by the buttocks.

Officers showed up and he was arrested again.

Garvey McArdle, defending, told the court that McPherson had not met Miss O’Neill and had obtained her phone number from her company’s website.

He added: ‘Mr McPherson is not currently working but is educated to a high standard and wishes to apologize for his behavior and knows he has exceeded the level of acceptability.’

A five-year non-harassment order was also granted limiting McPherson’s contact with Miss O’Neill.

Rufus T. Sifford