A Scots Muslim who sparked a terror scare in the Highlands is trying to become a Labour candidate in the general election.
Ex-soldier Alex Tiffin, who admitted sending threatening text messages, will contest the selection in Ross, Skye and Lochaber – a seat held by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Tiffin was in court in 2017 over texts sent to a member of his mosque days after the London Bridge attack.
Prosecutor Roderick Urquhart told Inverness Sheriff Court: “The first of these messages indicated that he was drunk, but the third said, ‘I decided to kill the unbelievables’, followed by a text stating ‘Unbelievers’ and another saying, ‘Allahu Akbar’.”
Urquhart added that a police investigation had established no links to terror groups: “The conclusion has been that he was an idiot, not a terrorist.”
Last night Tiffin said his offence was a result of mental illness.
He said: “It was not reported that I was never charged with a terrorist offence, nor that it was an attempt at ‘suicide by cop’.
“The press need to be fair when reporting on people with mental health conditions. I don’t deny what I did was wrong but all I expect is accuracy, and that all the facts are presented.
“I was admonished in 2018 after displaying good behaviour, being
diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and being treated, and it being accepted that it was a genuine mental health crisis.”
Roger Webb, Tiffin’s solicitor, said at the time: “There is no evidence of him being radicalised and this came at a difficult time in his personal life.
“He had been given news by his wife he didn’t like and broke a tenet of his religion and got drunk.
“The person at the mosque quite properly went to the police.
“He told officers he was stupid and apologises to the court, the police and the mosque.”
Webb also told the court: “I am grateful for the Crown’s conclusion that he is an idiot not a terrorist.”
Tiffin, who converted to Islam and has written about his mental health problems, admitted to behaving in a threatening manner and was admonished – effectively a verbal warning.
He was not charged with a terrorism offence.
Sheriff Neilson told him: “I have taken the unusual step of
admonishing you but that does not mean that I do not regard this as a serious offence.”
In September, Tiffin said he had been banned from attending Labour’s conference in Brighton after Sussex police intervened.
He tweeted: “Just been notified that I ‘didn’t pass the police security checks’ so will not be allowed in the Labour Party Conference itself.
“No specific reason given but I’m not stupid – obviously you can’t have a past any more.”
He added: “I’m a wheelchair bound freelance journalist, who’s never had a custodial sentence and never been arrested for anything other than breach of the peace for which I was admonished (absolute discharge), as I had a mental health crisis.”
Tiffin is in the running to become the Scottish Labour candidate in a seat once held by Lib Dem stalwart Charles Kennedy.
Blackford won the constituency for the SNP in 2015 and has a majority of 5919.
Local Labour members will select their candidate at a hustings in Fort William today.
A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “It’s hard to see why someone like this would appeal to the voters of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, or anywhere else for that matter.”