A man falsely accused of being a paedophile by a local newspaper following a photo mix-up has attempted to clear his name by giving an interview to a rival title.
Last week hundreds of copies of the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter had to be reprinted after it published a picture of supermarket worker Jim MacLean under the headline ‘Beast on the Loose”.
The paper mistakenly claimed MacLean, from Dumbarton, was a convicted sex offender from Clydebank.
It has now emerged that MacLean was waiting outside the court when the photo was taken to visit his father, who works at Dumbarton Sheriff Court, on Valentine’s Day.
He had just learned that his girlfriend was expecting a baby girl and wanted to share their news with his family.
MacLean told the Lennox Herald, which also circulates in Dumbarton:
Amy had her hospital notes with the scan pictures in her hand and a pink blanket we bought because that was how we were going to tell him.
We didn’t even go inside the court, we stood in the porch and told my dad. My dad was absolutely delighted. We all were. That’s why I was smiling in the picture.
We left the court and walked back to the car which was parked behind Dumbarton Masonic. I didn’t even know my photograph had been taken.
The first I knew about it was when my parents woke me up on Tuesday morning with a copy of the Reporter.
At first I thought it was a sick joke, one of those fake newspapers you see, but then I realised my mum was crying. I just couldn’t believe it.
The Herald reports that police have installed a panic alarm in MacLean’s home and given him a personal attack alarm, as well as increased patrols around the family home.
MacLean, who is now taking legal advice, added:
There is nothing more offensive than this, it’s the most heinous crime of all.
I have never been arrested in my life, never been in trouble with the police and I’ve never even had a parking ticket and now I’ve been linked with something like this.
My girlfriend and I are about to become parents, my mum works in a primary school and my dad’s a police officer. It couldn’t be any worse.
I am worried about the repercussions. It’s the thought of what could happen if I’m walking along the High Street or having a drink in The Clipper.
I don’t have a clue how many people saw the paper last week. It only takes one idiot to see the picture and think I’m that guy.
The damage is done, you can’t erase a picture from your mind once you’ve seen it – and the worry is that it sticks in people’s heads.
People have long memories. I want as many people as possible to know about this. I need to clear my name.