Perth prison officer who posted vile hate-filled rants about Muslims and Catholics on Facebook dodges jail

Daniel Cochrane, 57, was warned by his prison colleagues to stop the rants after a stream of bigoted online posts on social media


A PRISON officer who ignored colleagues’ warnings by posting hate-filled rants about Muslims and Catholics on Facebook has been ordered to carry out community payback.

Daniel Cochrane, 57, faces an internal inquiry by the Scottish Prison Service after spouting a stream of bigoted hatred on one of the social media site’s chat groups.

Colleagues on the chat group repeatedly warned him to stop and one, who was “extremely offended,” reported the posts to police and Cochrane was arrested.

Sheriff William Wood told ex-soldier Cochrane: “Those of us who work in public service must be held to the highest of standards. These comments were at best intemperate and at worst highly offensive.”

He noted Cochrane was “quite clearly a man who has given a significant amount to his country – service to the country in the military and service as a prison officer.”

The prison officer told Perth Sheriff Court he had later removed the posts from the internet and was no longer using social media.

Cochrane, Iona Court, Perth, admitted repeatedly sending grossly offensive messages which were religiously motivated on Facebook on 8 January this year. Cochrane was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

He told police he had flown into a rage after reading about the shooting of Asian man Yassur Yaqub, 28, on the M62 by police officers.

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie said: “The accused is a prison officer and this arises because of comments posted on Facebook which others, including those working in the prison service, were offended by.

“He shared a post about an Asian-looking man who was known to have been shot dead by West Yorkshire Police a few weeks previously. He became involved in conversations with others he knew were prison officers.

“He went on to discuss Muslims and Catholics and became graphic in his comments. He made comment about ‘Muslim terrorist bastards’ which was found deeply offensive by those viewing it.

“One of the people viewing it said not all Muslims were the same and offered to take him to a mosque to educate him. The accused made comments about ‘Catholic terrorist bastards.’

“One of the nurses at the prison said to the accused – ‘I find it incredibly ironic when you talk about Muslims spreading hate when you post like this.’”

Another prison officer who was in the chat group urged Cochrane to show caution and tone down his language but the plea was ignored.

They told Cochrane: “Words like this appear to be bigoted. Some things are not for Facebook. These posts are a good example of that.”

Miss Gillespie told the court that most of the people on the Facebook forum were so disgusted by Cochrane’s comments that they logged off.

“One of those attended work the next morning and immediately reported the matter. Officers took statements and got screenshots of the posts and the accused was suspended from duty. On 16 January he was detained and taken to police HQ.”

Cochrane told police he had deleted the posts a few hours after they appeared online and said: “It could have come across as religious bigotry.

“I remember seeing something about the guy being shot on the M62 by the police and it made me incredibly angry. It just became a very angry rant.

“I put down something like ‘why do all Muslims think they are above the law?’ I was angry for some reason.

“I also said something about hating Catholic terrorist bastards. I said it was not racist – more about religion. I thought it was ill-tempered, offensive and wrong and I eventually calmed down.

“I am embarrassed, ashamed and worried. I have been suspended by the Scottish Prison Service now.”

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