Tycoon who smashed wife’s window walks free
Tycoon, 49, who smashed windows to get into his ex-wife’s home after his daughter said her mother was ill walks free from court after pleading guilty of offence when Sheriff asks ‘just where is the criminality here?’
A tycoon who smashed a series of Georgian windows at his wife’s farmhouse with a hammer has walked free from court after a judge questioned why he had even been prosecuted.
Euan Snowie rushed to the property after a phone call from his eight-year-old daughter, who told him her mother was ill.
The 49-year-old smashed his way into the farmhouse but was not jailed after a sheriff questioned if any criminality took place, as Snowie was reacting to what he thought was an emergency.
Stirling Sheriff Court hears how Mr Snowie and his wife Claire, also 49, separated in February.
Since then she has been living in a farmhouse on their country estate near Kippen, Stirlingshire, while he is occupying its multi-million-pound mansion, Boquhan House.
The court heard Mrs Snowie was at home with an elderly aunt when she saw Mr Snowie outside.
Prosecutor Laura Knox said: ‘She saw him walk up to the back porch, and on seeing him approach she hid in the toilet.
‘He was then observed by the aunt to be striking the porch door with a hammer, smashing six panes of glass in Georgian-style windows at the side of the door.’
He then went into the farmhouse’s garage to replace the hammer and ‘simply left’.
Mrs Knox said: ‘It took Mrs Snowie’s aunt two hours to calm Mrs Snowie down.
‘She is described as having “flipped out”, and was hyperventilating and she didn’t want the accused to be there.’
Mrs Knox said that Mrs Snowie had not phoned police immediately, and when officers arrived Snowie was no longer at the scene.
He was detained two days later and told police he was concerned about his wife as a result of a phone call from his daughter.
Snowie pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening manner. An allegation originally in the charge that he had been intoxicated at the time was dropped.
Solicitor-advocate Neil Hay said the incident had occurred purely because of the phone call from his young daughter.
He said that Mr and Mrs Snowie, who have two other children, aged 18 and 21, were the owners of ‘a number of properties in Stirlingshire’.
Mrs Snowie had been ‘very fragile for medical reasons’ and had twice required the ambulance service since Christmas, on one occasion when someone found her unconscious.
Mr Hay said: ‘His daughter had phoned her Dad to say Mum was unwell, that she was in the bathroom, and could he come?
‘He attended as quickly as he could, went to the door, found it wouldn’t open, and went to an outhouse to find a tool, perhaps a screwdriver, to force it open somehow.’
Mr Hay said that unable to find a screwdriver, he found the hammer and used it to smash the windows in the porch nearest the Yale lock to get in. However, at that point, the door was opened by the elderly aunt, and Snowie left.
Mr Hay said that Snowie ‘found it odd in hindsight’ that his daughter had made the call that she did when there was in fact, another adult in the house, but put it down to the fact at the aunt was elderly.
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson then interrupted: ‘I’m having some trouble here. Just where is the criminality here?
‘What if this had been a neighbour, receives a call from a young girl, mother very unwell?
Neighbour comes, can’t get in, goes and finds something, smashes the glass nearest the Yale, and then somebody that they didn’t know was there comes to the door and says “it’s all right, it’s fine”.
‘Would there have been any prosecution?’
After an adjournment, Mrs Knox, the depute fiscal, said Snowie’s guilty plea had been accepted on the basis that he had been ‘reckless’ as to whether he caused fear and alarm.
She said the Crown ‘could not disprove’ that the incident had been sparked by the daughter’s phone call.
Sheriff Robertson told Snowie he would be admonished.
He said: ‘In other circumstances where someone else had done this I doubt whether this would have come to the attention of the authorities.
‘I don’t understand the basis on which this prosecution has proceeded.
‘On the basis of what has not been contradicted about the phone call, I’ll simply admonish Snowie in relation to this matter.’
The court heard that Snowie has no previous convictions relating to his wife.
But he was fined £1,000 last summer for domestic assault on his then 20-year-old daughter Louise, by pushing her during an argument about a luxury car.
And in February, allegations that he broke the law by shouting and swearing at Claire during a ‘business’ discussion were dropped by prosecutors.
Outside court, Snowie was advised by his solicitor not to comment when asked by a reporter if he thought the sheriff had suggested that he was being ‘picked on’ by being prosecuted when he was merely responding to his daughter’s phone call.
Mr Snowie said: ‘My comment is just, I’d take what the sheriff said on board. I’ll leave it at that.’
In 2001, Snowie’s family business was paid £38 million for the disposal of millions of carcasses following the nationwide foot and mouth outbreak.
Snowie and his brothers, Malcolm, Alistair, and Gordon, along with their mother Sheila, later sold the waste company for around £40 million.
He now owns a number of businesses, including Snowie Solutions Ltd and Euan Snowie Holdings Ltd.
In 2008 Snowie and Claire fought and lost a landmark court battle to ban ramblers from entering sprawling Boquhan estate under the Scottish parliament’s 2003 Land Reform Act.