TARRING THREAT IN LETTER TO BISHOP RETIRED POSTMAN SENTENCED AMAZING ALLEGATIONS Amazing allegations were made by a man in Oban Sheriff Court yesterday, who was charged with sending threatening letters to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. The man alleged that when he was in Ireland attempts were made to shoot him, and that he was kidnapped, stripped, and left in the heart of a bog to die. Arthur Percival Morton, Criaguaine Cottage,
Island of Luing, pleaded not guilty to the charge of sending two threatening letters to the
Right Rev. Donald Martin between July 25 and August 5, addressed to the Catholic Bishop,
Esplanade, Oban. The first letter read: The intruding Bishop, Espla of Argyll. Your gracious
attention is drawn to the following resolution —(a) To kidnap yourself the first opportunity
three weeks less one day hence; (b) to transport you to an unknown destination ; (c) to remove
your undershirt, tarring and feathering; (d) to replace same; (e) to drop you a well-known place;
(f) to leave a mark on you everyone may recognise. May our brother be careful of his goings about.
The second letter read: Dear unwanted brother, our note yourself has not been answered in any way
of which we are aware. Let it be understood that the lack of satisfaction to ourself will cause you
pain, grievous pain. August 15 will be date for you to remember. Both letters were signed Arthur
Killalah, with a cross similar to that used by bishops. POSTMAN'S EVIDENCE. James Black, solicitor, Oban, conducted the defence, and David Stewart, procuratorfiscal, appeared for the Crown. The first witnesses for the prosecution were Police-Inspector MacPhee, Oban; Constable MacTaggart, Kilbrandon; and Mr Duncan Mac Cowan, retired postman, Toberonochy, Luing, who identified writing on the letters produced in court as that accused. Corroborative evidence was also given John MacFarlane and David Mill, overseers at the head post office, Glasgow. Mr MacFarlane said Morton was a sorting clerk and telegraphist in the head post office, Glasgow, until his retirement pension in May, 1933. Very Rev. G. P. Tonge, Provost of St John's Episcopal Cathedral, Oban, questioned bv Mr Stewart, referred to a letter he received from Morton in October, in which accused made reference to Bishop Martin being the " intruding Bishop of Argyll " Bishop Martin, in the witness-box, stated that the letters did not cause him alarm for his personal safety.
He thought, however, damage might be caused to his church on the esplanade. IRISH HOLIDAY. Accused, giving evidence on his own behalf, admitted sending the letters, but denied they contained threats. They were intended only to show the Bishop what he, Morton, had suffered at the instigation of a Roman Catholic priest in County Mayo, Ireland, in the autumn of 1931. He was granted leave of at>6ence for nine weeks from his postal duties, and visited Killalah, where his family had connections for over 250 years. He was member of the Anglican Communion. Being
interested in the bringing together of the Church of Rome and the Anglican Church, he made overtures to the Roman Catholics, who were 98 per cent, of the population in the district. His overtures were unsuccessful, and twice attempts were made to murder him. One night, he said, he was about go to bed when five men came into the house, stripped him, took his money and his papers, bundled him into car, and left him in a bog. On another occasion three men attempted to 'kidnap him and to shoot him with a pistol. Mr Stewart, in cross-examination ? asked Morton
if he was sorry for writing the letters to the Bishop. " No," replied Morton. He added, however, that he would not write any more such letters, but said, " I want redress for two attempts on my life and for the loss of forty pounds and destruction of my nervous system, and I mean to have it." Stewart —What are you going to do next? —The Almighty Father of us all will deal with the case. Accused also stated that the grievous pain mentioned in the second letter did not mean physical or mental pain, but in a spiritual sense. He did not intend to do the Bishop any harm. Sheriff Chalmers, holding the charge proved, said he was taking a lenient view of what was very serious crime. The whole community had to be protected against threats of this nature. He bound accused over to be of
good behaviour for twelve months on a bond caution of £5, failing payment of which within seven days, imprisonment of thirty days.