HE was a high-flying councillor tipped for big things in the world of politics.
But now Craig Melville’s life has been destroyed after he was convicted of sending “reckless rather than threatening” racist texts to his former lover.
Ex-SNP member Melville, 37, was found guilty after trial at Dundee Sheriff Court of sending the hateful texts to colleague Nadia El-Nakla in which he blamed “horrible murdering Islamic *****” for the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015.
After a three-day trial, Sheriff Scott Pattison found Melville guilty of the charge and fined him £1,000.
Melville has since lost his job as environment convener on Dundee City Council, his political career and some of his friends, and is having to rebuild relationships with his family, solicitor Douglas McConnell told the court after the verdict.
He said: “This case has had a significant effect on him, his family and his life. He has grown up around politics, he loved politics and was destined for a career in politics.
“This case has stopped that for good and he has had to leave Dundee, leave his career, friends and work on his family relationships. He is trying to raise a young family.
“This case has been of no good to anybody and he has had to deal with the intrusion into his personal life.”
Mr McConnell told Sheriff Pattison that Melville had started his own business as a personal trainer and although he was earning, “money is tight”.
The solicitor added that he didn’t think the charge of threatening or abusive behaviour likely to cause a reasonable person fear or alarm was intended for this type of case.
“He is still a young man whose career has effectively been ended after sending private messages to this woman,” he said. “It was reckless behaviour — they weren’t intended to cause any harm.”
One text read: “It’s not personal I just ******* hate your religion and I’ll do all in I’m life do defeat your filth.” (sic)
Another said: “If I had a gun I’d shoot a muslim but I’m not brave enough.”
Melville had denied a single charge of sending a number of text messages to Ms El-Nakla that contained threatening, abusive and derogatory remarks regarding muslims, between November 13 and 15 2015, and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear or alarm, and that the offence was aggravated by religious prejudice.
During the case, Ms El-Nakla told the court they had texted each other as news of the Paris attacks broke on Friday November 13.
She said at that point he was calm but he became angry on the Saturday night and sent the texts.
Asked by fiscal depute Joanne Smith how she felt about the texts, she replied: “I was upset, I was confused and upset. He was very drunk and he wasn’t making any sense. The next day he called and apologised.”
Ms El-Nakla, who was married at the time of the offence, told the court she and Melville had an “on-off” affair after meeting in January 2014 when she started working for the SNP in Dundee.
She said their affair started in April of that year, despite Melville being engaged. He married his fiancée later that same year.
She described their relationship as “friends” at the time the texts were sent. She said her husband had taken her phone after discovering a text from Melville and had downloaded 14,000 pages of information, including many deleted texts.
However, none of the derogatory texts were found on either her phone or Melville’s by software experts after they were seized by police, the court was told.