A FORMER police officer who used to guard Mrs Thatcher’s Defence Secretary wept in court as he denied ever intimidating his elderly mother or taking £60,000 from her bank account.
Ex-firearms officer Andrew Rough said claims of embezzlement against him and his wife Jean, also a retired police officer, were untrue.
He said his mother, Gladys Rough, 86, who earlier testified against him, had been influenced by other family members whom he said had a grudge.
Rough, 58, who retired with the rank of sergeant in 2002, said he was deeply hurt by her claims.
He told the jury on the eighth day of his trial at Stirling Sheriff Court that he had twice been given commendations during his 27 years’ service with Central Scotland Police, once for saving a person who was attacked with knife, and as a firearms officer had been chosen to guard the late Lord George Younger, who lived Locally.
He said shooting was also his hobby, and he had represented the British Police seven times in the world clay target shooting championships and shot “eight or nine times” for Scotland.
Rough and his wife, also 58, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, deny taking the money from joint bank accounts held in the name of Gladys and his late father, also called Andrew, who died last year.
The embezzlement is alleged to have occurred between October 2010 and July 2015, after Andrew Rough senior had suffered a stroke, and was in hospital and then in a care home, and the old lady gave the couple her bank card.
Gladys Rough told the court earlier that she had handed over the card so her son and daughter-in-law could fetch her shopping, and any cash she needed.
She admitted she had told them they could use the card for themselves if they needed it, but she said she had meant only “if they were short” and that they should not buy “anything big”.
Rough told defence counsel Lewis Kennedy that his mother had in fact given him “unqualified permission” to use her bank accounts.
He said the permission “wasn’t capped” and that it was “not the case” that it was only modest expenditure that his mother had intended.
“My mother made it quite clear to me on several occasions I had unrestricted usage of the money in the account,” he said.
He said she had told him: “Son, whatever money you need, whatever you need it for, take it, as long as I have got some left for myself.”
He added the same went for Jean.
“She told me and Jean, in my presence, that it was OK for Jean to use the card for whatever they wanted,” he told the court.
He said his father had introduced him to shooting, and had wanted to help him financially with the expensive sport, which could involve costs of hundreds of pounds for attending a single weekend competition.
He told the court that in November 2012, he and Jean had moved into a four-bedroom new-build house in Alloa, with the intention that his mother would live with them and his father would go into a care home close by. But his father did not move, and his mother said she wanted to return to her own home in Gargunnock, Stirlingshire.
The new house more than doubled the cost of their mortgage, and he said his mother and father “discussed” contributing £500 a month to it.
He said: “The actual sum of £500 a month never actually happened; my mother just said ‘son, use the card as you need it’.”
He said after the current allegations emerged and his wife lost her job they eventually had to sell the large house.
Mr Kennedy asked: “Do you have any notion why your own mother should make these allegations against you?”
He replied: “I find it hard to understand. I have my own thoughts. I think she’s probably been pressurised by other members of the family.
“I believe they think there’s a pot of money that they want to get their hands on.”
Mr Kennedy asked: “How do you feel when your own mother makes these criminal allegations, you being a retired police officer?”
Rough replied: “I’m deeply hurt by it. I think it’s to do with her mental health.
“She was totally consistent with me that we had permission to use whatever we wanted.”
He admitted that he’d a “heated” meeting with his mother over the allegations.
He said: “I was fairly angry, because of being accused of something I hadn’t done, especially with me with my background, but I never raised my hands or my voice.”
Mr Kennedy asked: “Would you do anything to intimidate her?”
Weeping, he replied: “She’s my mother, I’d never do that to her, I love her very much.”
The trial, before Sheriff William Gilchrist and jury, continues.
Source : HeraldScotland