A SHERIFF has shown mercy to a Johnstone dad who lost the plot and armed himself with a machete after being accused of killing one of his children.

Richard Donnelly, who was reeling from the loss of twin baby Aiden, saw red when a neighbour posted a message on Facebook to say he believed the father-of-ten was responsible for the tot’s death.

It all became too much for 38-year-old Donnelly and, on the night of surviving twin Kieran’s Christening, he armed himself with a machete and shouted at the neighbour from the street.

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The details emerged last week as Donnelly, of Rankine Street, appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to go on trial over the events of July 29 this year.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally having a machete in public, while a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive way was dropped.

Procurator fiscal depute Claire Rowan told the court a neighbour had shouted abuse at Donnelly, who “took great offence,” went to his home to grab a machete and returned to the street, holding the weapon in his hand.

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Paisley Sheriff Court 

She added: “He then returned to his home and placed the machete under his sofa.”

However, the police were contacted and went to Donnelly’s home, where they found the weapon under his couch and arrested him.

Defence solicitor Amy Spencer told the court that Donnelly, who works as a removals assistant, was grieving for the loss of his baby son at the time of the offence.

She explained: “In July this year, he lost one of his children – a six-month-old baby – due to cot death.

“The neighbour he had taken issue with had posted on social media, saying he was responsible for the death of the baby.

“That day, he had attended at the Christening for the remaining twin. He had taken a lot to drink.”

The lawyer said Donnelly accepts his reaction was “completely unacceptable and disproportionate.”

She added: “He is an honest, hard-working man. His children are his entire life and he was broken. He saw red.”

After hearing that Donnelly’s 11th child with his partner was due any time, Sheriff James Spy spared him jail.

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As he placed him on a Community Payback Order for the offence, ordering him to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work in the next four months, he said: “I accept there are tragic circumstances here that led you to commit this offence which will probably never arise again.”