01 July 1998
Booby-trap farmer sentenced to seven years

FARMER Frank Gillingham was jailed for seven years for attempted murder after his booby-trap almost blew off an intruders hand.

Gillingham, 56, of Cessnock Place, Kilmarnock, told the High Court, in Glasgow, that his smallholding, near Hurlford, Ayrshire, had been the target of a sustained vandalism campaign by thugs and that was why he rigged up a cut-down double-barrelled shotgun in his shed.

His self-help attempt resulted in a lucky escape by Derek McCulloch, 23, who set off the blast. The victim has had four operations on his left hand and will have to undergo more surgery.

The farmer said vandals had killed his animals, stolen tools, destroyed vegetables and burned a shed with his car inside. He resorted to desperate measures when police failed to catch the culprits.

McCulloch claimed he had come across the smallholding by accident and believed it to be derelict. He said he pushed plywood next to a steel door on the shed and was shot.

  • The Scotsman 01/07/98 page 3