Ex-Scottish laird, 70, appeals extension of order banning contact with woman he plotted to kill

Ex-Scottish laird who was jailed for TWICE plotting to murder woman appeals extension of order that bans him from contacting her and her family

Malcolm Potier, 70, was detained in Australia in 2002 for entering illegallyHe then asked a fellow inmate to kill a woman, leading to a six year sentenceHis sentence tripled in 2006 when he plotted against her life again while in jailNow back in UK, he is resisting an order banning contact with the victim’s familyOnce a famed investor, Potier owned the Scottish isle of Gigha from 1989 to 1991

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A former Scottish laird who was jailed for twice plotting to murder a woman is appealing against the extension of an order which bans him from contacting her and her family.

Malcolm Potier, 70, was being held in an Australian detention centre in 2002 for entering the country illegally when he paid a fellow inmate £4,600 to kill the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons. 

The would-be assassin Alessandro Basso fled to his native Italy with the money, while Potier was jailed for six years.

Potier’s sentence was extended by 12 years in 2006 when he plotted against her life again while in prison in Long Bay, New South Wales.

The former multi-millionaire, who acquired the title of baron when he bought the Scottish Hebridean island of Gigha in 1989, is forbidden from contacting the woman and her family.

She remains in a worldwide witness protection scheme after Potier’s conviction for incitement to murder in Australia.

Former investor and Scottish laird Malcolm Potier, 70, was jailed for twice plotting to kill a woman in Australia. Now back in the UK, he is appealing against an extension of a violent offender order (VOO) banning contact with the woman and her family

Following his release from jail in 2015, he flew to the UK and was made the subject of a violent offender order (VOO) brought forward by the Metropolitan Police.

The order, brought under section 100 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, states: ‘[Potier’s] persistent and obsessive behaviour, with regards to establishing contact… has left all concerned suffering from severe anxiety and being in constant and grave fear for their safety.’

An interim order preventing Potier from making contact with the victim and her family was imposed on the day he landed in the UK.

The VOO must be renewed every five years.

Potier challenged the order when it was up for renewal in May 2021, claiming that some of the seven individuals covered by the order had made ‘false’ statements to the police to keep the VOO in place.

He told Westminster Magistrates’ Court: ‘Not in any way shape or form do I represent any danger to those persons.

‘If there had been these terrible things which are said to have happened, there would be records, there are none.’

Malcom Potier pictured in 1989 as the new Laird of Gigha, just off the Mull of Kintyre, which he purchased for £5.4million – beating off Rolling Stone Mick Jagger

Despite his protestations, the VOO was renewed.

Today, wearing a black suit with a checked shirt, Potier appeared at Southwark Crown Court, representing himself, to discuss arrangements for appealing the renewal.

The former laird wanted to cross-examine five individuals included in the VOO at the appeal hearing, scheduled for next month (June).

The woman who he was jailed for plotting against was not one of the five individuals he wanted to question.

Judge Martin Griffith ruled against calling the witnesses.

‘They should not be brought to court in order to be cross-examined,’ the judge said.

‘This is a rehashing of the events of 20 years ago rather than what the… appeal is all about, which is whether or not this violent offender order should be renewed.’

Speaking outside court, Potier called the order ‘a nuisance’.

‘I don’t particularly like having to walk around subject to onerous orders which should not be there,’ he said.

In 1991, Potier’s company crumbled and creditors seized his assets, including the isle of Gigha (pictured) which was taken over by a Swiss bank – but he was never declared bankrupt

He also denied being a danger or a risk to anyone.

‘I’m absolutely not a risk. I’m just pretty boring these days.’

Originally from Sevenoaks, Kent, Potier trained as a surveyor and made a fortune with his company Tanap Investments.

At the height of his company’s success in the late 1980s, Potier estimated he was worth £25-30m.

It was  in 1989, just before he turned 40, that he bought Gigha, celebrating his birthday on the Scottish island.  He beat off Rolling Stone Mick Jagger to buy Gigha, just off the Mull of Kintyre for £5.4million in 1989.

‘The intention was that it would be described as nothing trivial. It wasn’t trivial,’ he said of the birthday bash.

In 1991, two months from completing a building project in Glasgow, a homeless person walked into the building in the middle of the night and started a fire.

Potier’s appeal against the extension of the violent offender order (VOO) is due to take place at Southwark Crown Court on June 30

As a result, Potier’s company crumbled and creditors seized his assets, including the island – which was taken over by a Swiss bank – but he was never declared bankrupt.

‘I didn’t care about anything else,’ he said, ‘But I did care about the island because it was important to me.’

Now in his 70s, Potier said he lived ‘quietly’.

‘I do a lot of unpaid legal advice. Very amateurish. My life could be better. How, I’m not sure,’ he said.

‘If you become…bitter and things like that you really don’t become able to function effectively.’

Potier’s appeal over the renewal of the violent offender order is scheduled for June 30 at Southwark Crown Court.

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