As criminals, they made an unlikely pair. One was a businessman under surveillance by the police, the other a personal trainer with a violent past and debts to pay.
But William Handy and Craig Guest have one thing in common. Today they are both behind bars, after being convicted of torching a car in the driveway of a police officer’s home near Dundee.
Superintendent Graeme Murdoch, from Police Scotland’s Tayside Division, said the pair’s actions were “unacceptable”.
“Our officers were targeted simply for doing their job,” he said. “We will challenge this type of senseless behaviour towards our officers as we would any other member of the public.
“William Handy and Craig Guest acted in a completely reckless manner that could have had far graver consequences and we welcome the conviction.”
The High Court heard that 54-year-old Handy, of Middlebank Holding, Errol, had become increasingly irate at the police regularly stopping him for alleged road traffic offences he wasn’t convicted of.
In June 2014 he finally snapped, and after researching the home addresses of two officers involved, Handy and his personal trainer Craig Guest, 32, of Nelson Street, Dundee, set fire to a car at Ballumbie.
During proceedings, the court heard Handy’s main focus was PC David Farr and his colleague PC Ross Clark, who he felt were persistently following him and “frightening” him in their unmarked silver Audi.
Handy would openly talk to pals and associates about what he saw as harassment by the police, including Guest whom he met at a gym and then employed as his personal trainer.
Evidence was led that, during regular appointments, phone calls and messages in May and June 2014, the pair agreed to firebomb a personal car at PC Farr’s Ballumbie home. At Handy’s behest, in the early hours of June 23 2014, Guest poured petrol over a car in Farr’s driveway and set it on fire using a lighter.
No one was hurt, but the consequences could have been far worse if the “uncontrollable” flames had spread before it was brought under control.
Guest had already admitted wilful fire-raising earlier this week and Handy was found guilty in Aberdeen yesterday.
There were gasps from the public gallery when the jury announced their majority verdict.
Handy himself initially remained motionless in the dock, but a short time afterwards, could be seen lifting his glasses so he could wipe tears away.
Lord Lowman asked for background reports on both men before remanding them in custody.
The pair will appear for sentencing at the High Court in Livingston on July 27.
Lord Lowman said: “Now that the accused have been convicted of this serious crime, I have decided to remand each accused in custody until the sentencing diet.”