Police on hunt for Kirrie man who threatened to “wipe out” airport

Jonathan Gourley. (Picture by Watchtower Media).
Jonathan Gourley. (Picture by Watchtower Media).

Police are on the hunt for a Kirriemuir man - who threatened to “wipe out” an airport during a Syria rant in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks - after he failed to appear at court today (Tuesday).

Jonathan Gourley was due to be sentenced at Paisley Sheriff Court for previously turning up there while armed with a knife.

Gourley told petrified airport staff he had been in the military for over 20 years and had just returned from the war-torn country.

But the 43-year-old is actually a master carpenter who has never been in the armed forces and has only ever been to Syria on holiday.

Gourley, who moved to the UK from Canada 17 years ago, launched in to his Syria rant at Glasgow International Airport at 8.45am on Monday, November 16, 2015.

ISIS, or ISIL - The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - claimed they carried out the Friday night attacks in response to French airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq.

And while Europe was still reeling from the atrocities - which saw 89 people slain during the Eagles of Death Metal gig at the Bataclan theatre - Gourley went to Glasgow Airport to vent his frustrations

He arrived 60 hours after the attacks - which left 130 people dead and a further 368 injured.

The carpenter, clad in a flat cap and glasses, was staggering around as if he was drunk - prompting an EasyJet employee to go over to assist him.

He asked her for a ticket to his homeland and, when she said they did not fly to Canada, asked for a flight to Amsterdam.

The employee then told Gourley he was “too drunk to be sold a ticket” and suggested he return once sober - prompting him to reply: “I’ve just pulled out of Syria.

“I was in the military for 21 years and was messed up.

“You don’t understand - I could wipe you out.

“I’m very high up in the military - I could wipe you all out.”

Police were contacted and, when they arrived, Gourley bawled: “I’ve been a prisoner of war, I’ve been in Syria fighting and if I don’t get a flight I’m going to sort you all out.”

He was arrested and held in police custody until the following morning, when he appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court.

He pleaded guilty to behaving in a way which would cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm by shouting and swearing at the airport, in breach of Section 38(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

Sentence was deferred for background reports until January 26 last year and Gourley returned to the Renfrewshire court then to learn his fate.

But, as he passed through a metal detector at the front door of the court, he told a security guard he had a penknife on him and handed it over.

He told the security guards he was a carpenter and had owned the lockback knife, which has a three-inch-long blade, for 15 years.

He was detained by police and taken away for questioning, telling officers the knife was a family heirloom that he carried with him “at all times.”

When cautioned and charged with having the knife in public, he replied: “Waiting to go to court to prove my innocence and forgot to take it out of my pocket.”

He admitted his guilt over taking the knife with him to court in November and sentence was deferred until today for him to comply with the Community Payback Order he was given for his Syria rant.

At the time Sheriff David Pender told Gourley: “Young thugs going out in the evening putting a comb in one pocket and a knife in the other have to be dealt with very seriously.

“Possession of a knife in a court building almost puts it off the scale.

“You’re apparently an intelligent person, I don’t know why you would do such a daft thing.”

But, when the case against Gourley called in court today he was not there - and his lawyer could not say why not or where he was.

Defence lawyer Amy Spencer explained: “Mr Gourley’s father is in court today, having flown over from Canada, having expressed concern for his son’s welfare.

“He was expecting to support his son at court today but he is not in attendance and I have no explanation for his absence.”

Sheriff David Pender granted a warrant for Gourley’s arrest and the Canadian will be sentenced for the knife possession when he is arrested on the warrant.