Scots grandad detained in Dubai over Hogmanay row returns home safely

Ian Mackellar was due to return to Scotland earlier this year but had to remain in Dubai indefinitely over the New Year's incident.

An Aberdeenshire grandfather accused of trespass after complaining about a noisy neighbour while looking after his infant grandchild in the United Arab Emirates has returned to Scotland.

Ian Mackellar faced charges including verbal assault amid fears he would be jailed in Dubai.

The 75-year-old became involved in an altercation on New Year’s Eve when one of his daughter’s neighbours hosted a party, with loud music blaring out until the early hours in the morning, advocacy group Detained in Dubai told STV News.

“I was despairing at times,” Mr Mackellar told STV News as he arrived at Glasgow Airport on Tuesday.

“At times I thought, ‘och well it’s not a huge offence, it wont be long I’ll be released soon’.

“Whenever I thought that, Carol would be looking at the internet saying, ‘Don’t believe it, here’s another guy thats been jailed for years.'”

Mr Mackellar had messaged his daughter’s neighbours to keep the noise down and be mindful of the fact there was an 18-month-old child next door, campaign group Detained in Dubai had said.

When the music was played louder, he visited the neighbours while carrying his granddaughter to ask again to keep the noise down.

When nobody responded at the door, Mr McKellar headed down an open side path to the garden. He could see guests in attendance, so asked them if they could move the party indoors.

But it is alleged that multiple guests started pushing him backwards, causing him to stumble. He claims that drinks were thrown over him and his granddaughter while attempting to leave.

Mr Mackellar intended to file a police report regarding what had happened that night, but a complaint was launched against him for trespassing before he could. He was taken to a local police station.

Mr Mackellar’s wife Carol said: “I really wasn’t hopeful – I was really fearful that he was going to prison.”

The couple, who have been together for 53 years, were both scheduled to return to Scotland on January 10 but Carol was forced to leave her husband behind as he faced his charges.

Mr Mackellar, from Newtonhill near Stonehaven, was facing a potential prison sentence or a fine of up to AED 10,000 due to the UAE laws on trespassing.

On Monday last week, more than a month after his arrest, he attended the police station where he was expecting to meet the prosecutor.

After an agonizing wait of two hours he was told the judge was going to pass a sentence.

“I was wee bit panicky,” he told STV News.

“Your mind begins to play tricks.”

Finally, the judge imposed a £650 fine and confirmed the retired lecturer was free to leave the Gulf state.

“I was absolutely relieved, I was expecting perhaps incarceration.”

Mr Mackellar said he didn’t want to “waste time dwelling” on those who complained about him.

“It’s great to be back with my family and great to be back in Scotland,” an emotional Mr Mackellar said.

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