Scots mum thought children were going to die after gunman opened fire and attacked dog
A mum has told how she feared children were going to die when a crazed gunman began firing shots from his garden.
Terrified Emma Davis was walking her dog past Paul Ritchie’s village home in Lanarkshire when he began making threats and viciously attacked her pet.
The dog later had to be put down.
The incident sparked a major police armed response and saw the businessman, 35, hauled into Airdrie Sheriff Court where he admitted shooting what turned out to be a paintball gun at Emma, 40, and the four children she was with.
Thug Ritchie was previously jailed for 12 months last year for sending what a judge described as “vile” emails to politicians, including threats of shooting and decapitation.
His victims included former House of Commons speaker John Bercow, ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former home secretary Amber Rudd and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Emma said she was convinced he had a real weapon and couldn’t believe what was happening as she took the youngsters for a Sunday morning stroll with her dog.
She said her Staffordshire bull terrier Maya was injured so bad that it had to be put down as a result.
Emma, 40, moved from the rural village of Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, after the shocking incident outside Ritchie’s Grange Cottage home in October 2020.
She insisted she had never met Ritchie before. Emma said: “What happened that morning you might see in a city street, but you wouldn’t expect it in a lovely, quiet village like Dolphinton.
“This stranger came out of his house, shouting and swearing. He was making threats and his language was vile. He kicked Maya, who flew across the pavement.
“He came back out and I heard popping noises – he had armed himself with a gun and was standing on the bird bath in his back garden.
“We were absolutely no threat to him – I’m only 5ft 5in and a size 8 – and yet he was firing in our direction as we backed away.
“It was horrific. I genuinely thought the children were going to die. It didn’t make any sense – it was crazy behaviour.”
When police established Ritchie’s weapon was, in fact, a paintball gun it was of little consolation to Emma.
She said: “I had sleepless nights after this. We had to move away from the area.”
Ritchie, who runs a property services booking website, admitted culpably and recklessly discharging a paintball gun in the direction of Emma and four children.
He also admitted causing the dog unnecessary suffering and assaulting two police officers.
Sheriff Hughes deferred sentence on Ritchie until next month for background reports, including an assessment of his mental health.