A “flamboyant” and “controversial” senior lawman has died suddenly.
Sheriff Richard Davidson, 72, suffered a heart attack on Sunday after driving to Glasgow for a relative’s birthday celebration.
Speaking at his family home in Blairgowrie yesterday his wife, Shirley, 53, said her husband collapsed shortly after arriving.
He had been driving with his son Andrew, 25, with his wife and the couple’s daughter, Cara, 27, in another car close behind.
Despite being taken to hospital after his collapse, doctors were unable to save his life.
She said: “To begin with we didn’t think it was too bad and that he would soon be home. His death was very sudden and came as a major shock to us all.
“In typical fashion he was joking and laughing with us right to the end.”
Mrs Davidson said her husband continued to be a firm believer in the virtues of the justice system throughout his long career.
She said: “He always wanted to do right for people who had been wronged. Sometimes he said things he later regretted – he realised that he sometime used the wrong words and phrases in a situation but that was just him.
“I remember one woman approached him in Dundee and thanked him for sending her to prison. She told him it was the best thing that had happened to her.
“He loved his work and he was very dedicated. He was a colourful and flamboyant character.
“He was always very busy with work but he tried to make sure he was always home from bath time when the children were little.”
Mrs Davidson said that away from work her husband loved family holidays and travelling, Rangers FC, and in his retirement had swapped the courtroom for the kitchen.
She said: “He loved to go on rollercoasters and he loved karaoke. He loved to get up on the stage and sing. He was also a massive football fan who needed quiet to enjoy his football on television.”
Mr Davidson began his legal career in Govan before moving to Tindal, Oatts, Buchanan McIlwraith in St Vincent Street in Glasgow city centre.
He initially began his time in the City of Discovery as a part-time sheriff, before taking up the position in Dundee.
‘There’s serious crime in Dundee but not a lot of serious criminals’
Mr Davidson retired from the Dundee Sheriff Court benches in 2016 after decades of hitting the headlines for his amusing, and often blunt, comments to those who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
On one particularly controversial occasion during his sentencing of a man who had been convicted of sending a woman’s sex tape to her employers, he described the perpetrator’s actions as “typical male Dundonian behaviour”.
In a lengthy interview with the Tele at his retirement the sheriff said he recognised this wasn’t the wisest of comments.
He said: “It was an epithet that I immediately regretted and recognised would rightly cause offence.
Speaking of crime in the city during the interview, he said: “Dundee definitely has more decent people than indecent.
“Sometimes I think my time sitting in the court in Dundee has given me a distorted view of the city and its people.
“There’s serious crime in Dundee but not a lot of serious criminals.”
Mr Davidson said he had always admired the “determination and ability” of Dundonians to deal with injustice.