AN ALEXANDRIA man has been spared prison after he began singing sectarian songs while being taken to hospital complaining of a sore head.

Stewart McDonald chanted a series of offensive slogans while police were taking him from his home in Cullen Street to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley on April 23.

McDonald, 50, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour aggravated by religious prejudice.

Sentence had been deferred until July 12 to enable social workers to prepare a background report.

Fiscal depute Gemma McKechnie told the court: “The accused was being conveyed to the RAH complaining of a sore head.

“En route he began to sing sectarian songs which included terms such as ‘f*** the Queen’, ‘up the Ra’ and ‘I hate the f*****g Proddies’.

“Thereafter he was deemed fit to be taken to Clydebank police office. Due to his condition he was not charged with an offence at that stage.”

Jennifer Reid, defending, said: “His position is that this was underpinned by the consumption of large amounts of alcohol.

“The [social work] report is positive in that there is no attempt to minimise or deny his behaviour.

“His reaction was wholly unacceptable – and those are the words he uses in the report.”

Ms Reid said there was a four-year gap in McDonald’s record of previous convictions, and told the court he was assessed as at “medium risk” of further re-offending.

“He is keen to show the court he can make good what he has done,” Ms Reid continued.

“He has been abstinent for some time and recognises that alcohol has underpinned a lot of his offending behaviour.

“He has also recognised that a period of supervision would be a further support for him.”

Sheriff John Hamilton placed McDonald on a community payback order with 12 months’ social work supervision and a requirement to do 180 hours of unpaid work by mid-January.

But he warned: “If it is established that you have failed to comply with the terms of any requirement in the order, the court can sentence you in any way it sees fit – and given your record, that is likely to mean custody.”