Feuding traveller families cause chaos at Elgin court

Warring traveller families threatened each other at the courthouse.
Warring traveller families threatened each other at the courthouse.

MEMBERS OF TWO Feuding traveller families caused chaos inside and outside Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday during a tense standoff that saw police and security reinforcements having to be called.

Security inside the court building were forced to call for reinforcements when members of the McPhee and Stewart families started shouting at each other in the courthouse.

Eight members of the Stewart family were eventually kept outside the building by police and security while around a dozen members of their rivals the McPhees were guarded in the nearby Moray Council car park.

Despite the strong police presence the rival families continued to shout and threaten each other for around two hours. Only the relevant family members who were in the dock were allowed back into the court.

Family members blamed court staff for causing the situation by scheduling the two families to appear on the same day, despite knowing that the two families hated each other – with one family member saying that the feud between the families was well known and had been passed down through generations.

In the court, fiscal Alison Wyle told Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov that it “may not be appropriate to have some parties in court for the same sitting” in future.

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts Service insisted that proceedings at the court were “not affected by the activity outside the building”.