David Barker: sudden escalation from life of petty crime — (The Courier)

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The Courier.co.uk

Though now convicted of the brutal murder of tragic Coupar Angus teenager Robbie Thomson, David Barker had no background of violence.

By Mark Mackay

Published in the Courier : August 24, 2010

Published online : 24.08.10 @ 06.01pm

His record shows him to be a habitual criminal who had been sentenced to detention and imprisonment 10 times by the age of 23.

A lengthy record, running to almost 20 pages, recounts a litany of petty offences including road traffic violations, breaches of the peace and regular flaunting of court orders.

However, there is little or nothing to hint at the fury in which he repeatedly stabbed Robbie Thomson and then dumped his body in a burn.

Evidence given during the case at the High Court has done little to explain the explosive escalation in Barker’s offending behaviour last March.

Though he’d attended one of the regular all-night weekend parties held at Robbie’s home in Brodies Yard, no explicit link was made to over-indulgence of alcohol or drugs that night.

He’d become well known to the courts in Dundee and in Perth and to officers from Tayside Police, yet nothing prefaced the violent acts he eventually committed.

The closest he had ever come to a conviction for violence appears to have been an offence of resisting arrest and committing a breach of the peace by threatening a man with violence.

A pattern of offending behaviour was well established prior to 2007, when he is understood to have been diagnosed as suffering from depression ­ the problem deriving from a bereavement.

While he had been receiving medication for that diagnosis, from time to time he is said to have supplemented his medication with alcohol, leaving him prone to “impulsive and irrational behaviour.”

Sentences handed down by the sheriff courts in Dundee and Perth ranging from as little as 14 days to 10 months. And he served a 13-and-a-half-month prison sentence in relation to charges including theft, breach of the peace and resisting arrest.