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Weekend court roll – our round-up of the most-read cases of the week

Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north and north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases.

Amazon fraudster’s spending spree

On Monday we told how an Aberdeen woman who used a man’s debit card as he lay injured on the street was caught after going on an Amazon spending spree.

The dazed and confused man’s wallet vanished after he fell over and struck his head on the pavement following a party in the early hours of the morning.

Elizabeth Sweeney arriving at court

It fell into the possession of Elizabeth Sweeney – and she wasted no time in using it.

The 33-year-old used his debit card just minutes later, at the nearby L&M Stores on Hutcheon Street, and quickly racked up a bill of almost £50.

Trio jailed over role in organised crime gang’s drug operation

Three drug dealers have been locked up for their roles in a “sophisticated” organised crime operation in Aberdeen.

Daniel Edwards, 35, Liam Jones, 23, and Robert Tomlinson, 49, were arrested in simultaneous police raids following an intelligence-led operation at a number of different locations in the city.

Daniel Edwards being arrested and, inset, Liam Jones.

The Press & Journal was invited to join cops on one of the raids, when Edwards was arrested at a property on Morrison Drive in the city.

And all three have now been put behind bars after admitting to being involved with a Liverpool-based organised crime gang that was selling drugs in the Granite City.

Former foster carer facing jail

A former foster carer was warned he faces a jail sentence after sexually assaulting two young girls in the Highlands.

Francis Ward, 69, molested the children when one was aged eight and another from when she was 11 years old in Dornoch, in Sutherland.

Francis Ward.

The older girl told the High Court in Edinburgh: “He would just call me sexy and say I had a good body.”

She said she was “too scared” to speak to anyone about what was happening to her. She said that he told her if she spoke to anyone her family would be hurt.

Molotov cocktails thrown at home of girlfriend’s mum

A man threw two Molotov cocktails at the home of his girlfriend’s mum to stop her “interfering”.

Nathan Whyte, 20, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted throwing the flaming bottles towards the Peterhead home of the woman in order to “scare” her.

Nathan Whyte leaving Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He later told police that he had become irritated with her “interfering” in their relationship.

Whyte’s solicitor described him as “no intellectual giant”.

Pervert pensioner

A pensioner who sent a video of himself carrying out a sex act to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl has been placed on the sex offenders register.

Hugh Davidson was snared by a paedophile hunter group after he sent sexual messages, pictures and videos to a decoy account under the name of ‘Paige’.

Hugh Davidson leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Davidson approached Paige on social media and soon after asked her for her number so they could chat on the WhatsApp encrypted social media platform.

Despite being aware that she was 13-years-old, messages sent by Davidson quickly became sexual and he urged Paige not to tell anyone they were speaking as he would “get into trouble”.

Firestarter’s fascination with firefighters

A young firestarter with an apparent “fascination” with the fire service set bins ablaze so he could badger firefighters with questions when they arrived.

Georgij Grudin torched bins at the rear of Peterhead’s Clinton Cards shop in Marischal Street last June then waited for the 999 crew to turn up.

The 20-year-old told one fireman he hadn’t started the blaze, however soon raised suspicions with his unusual line of questioning.

Fiscal depute Sean Ambrose told Peterhead Sheriff Court: “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service received a 999 call from a mobile number belonging to the accused reporting a fire within the bins at the rear of the store.”

Dundee United fan assaulted Dons player

On Tuesday, a Dundee United supporter was banned from all football after he admitted assaulting an Aberdeen player during the course of a match.

Marc Jackson appeared in the dock at Dundee Sheriff Court and admitted assaulting Funso Ojo in a high profile pitch-side attack.

Dundee United fan Marc Jackson, right with black cap, assaulted Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo during this pitch-side confrontation

Sheriff Gregor Murray noted the incident had been shown numerous times on television and deferred sentence on Jackson for reports.

Jackson, 35, admitted attacking Funso Ojo by pushing him on the body at Tannadice Park in Dundee on 20 November.

Reveller robbed by thug

A thug who beat up and robbed an Aberdeen reveller has been handed a prison sentence.

Maxwell Stewart, 33, was part of a five-person gang that violently attacked the man as he made his way home from Aberdeen city centre.

Maxwell Stewart took part in a gang robbery in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how on August 21 this year the victim was approached by a woman before being swarmed by the gang who pushed him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly to the body.

They then pulled his wallet – containing £80 and a bank card – from his pocket and ran off.

Appliances tossed out high-rise

A boozed-up butcher has been fined after flinging a coffee machine and microwave out of his 16th floor Aberdeen flat window.

Jevgenijs Samsonovs, 36, chucked his kitchen appliances out of Cornhill Court high-rise in Aberdeen on November 16 after an early-morning fallout with his girlfriend.

Jevgenijs Samsonovs flung items from the 16th floor of an Aberdeen high-rise.

A startled neighbour called the police after hearing the objects land on the public footbath below “with a loud bang”.

Samsonovs previously pled guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and culpable and reckless conduct last month, and sentence was deferred for reports.

Horrifying attack on midwife captured on Zoom

A man has been detained at a mental health hospital after a horrifying attack on a midwife that was captured on Zoom.

Lucas Pearce, from England, turned up at the woman’s Inverness home out of the blue and then forced his way inside when she opened the door.

Lucas Pearce attacked a woman at her home in Inverness

After assaulting her in the hallway the 36-year-old dragged his terrified victim upstairs and made the chilling threat: “You deserve to be killed”.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told the horrifying ordeal was captured on a video call – and it was one of the woman’s shocked colleagues who called the police.

Man’s threats to police

An Aberdeen man reported his mobile stolen to police – then warned them he was going to murder the person who stole it and rob a bank.

Raymond Sanders made a series of furious calls after becoming unsatisfied with the police’s response to his missing phone.

Raymond Sanders.

The 45-year-old’s behaviour on November 7 was branded “utterly disgraceful” by a sheriff.

Fiscal depute Jennifer Pritchard told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Sanders initially reported his mobile phone stolen the day before.

Domestic abuser ripped out partner’s hair

An Aberdeen thug ripped out his partner’s hair and threatened to throw her out of a window in a “deplorable” attack.

Ugis Kalasnikovs had been in a relationship with his partner for 10 years but flew into a violent rage when he returned to their Aberdeen flat at 11.30pm on Halloween this year.

Ugis Kalasnikovs.

The 27-year-old initially threw his jacket and shoes at the woman, as well as a fruit bowl and tangerines.

But he also threatened to throw her out of a window and grabbed her by the hair, pulling some out.

Oil worker almost four-times the limit

An oil and gas worker who was caught behind the wheel while nearly four times the drink-drive limit has been banned from the roads.

Rachael Allison, 28, was stopped by police in the early hours as she drove her car erratically in Aberdeen’s Gallowgate area on November 28 this year.

Rachael Allison was caught while nearly four times the drink-drive limit.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how she had decided to drive home to Alford after falling out with her sister.

The two women, who the court was told had a “fractious relationship”, had been drinking together at a flat in the city.

Holidaymaker attacked wife at harbour

A New Zealand couple’s idyllic north-east holiday turned violent when a husband hit his wife so hard at Stonehaven Harbour she toppled out the back of their campervan.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how locals had to come to the aid of tourist John Mauchline’s wife after the couple got into a heated argument while drinking in their rented van.

The 65-year-old then pushed his wife causing her to fall backwards out of the camper and onto the ground.

As Mauchline repeatedly punched the woman he was heard to scream: “This is your fault”.

Danger dog cannot be found

On Wednesday, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told a Staffordshire bull terrier that was ordered to be destroyed after it bit an 11-year-old Aberdeen schoolgirl cannot be found.

Lisa Baxter, who was looking after the dog for a friend, admitted a charge of allowing the dog to be off its lead when it sunk its teeth into the thigh of a girl near Northfield’s Westpark Primary School, Aberdeen.

However, the whereabouts of the dog is currently unknown since its owner began a two-year prison sentence.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Baxter let the unmuzzled bull terrier off its lead on the evening of May 30 last year where it chased two 11-year-old girls and bit one on the leg.

Flat wrecked looking for mobile phone

A drunk man who trashed his flat while drunkenly looking for his lost mobile phone caused almost £8,000 of damage, a court has been told.

Aleksander Sosnowski was shouting and screaming when he turned parts of his Aberdeen flat upside down as he searched for the missing mobile.

The 32-year-old’s destructive rampage was so loud that two sets of neighbours reported him to the landlord, who in turn got in touch with the police, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Emma Petersen said the private landlord discovered the flat on King Street completely trashed on November 15 2019.

Joyrider tried to flee by train

A teenage joyrider attempted to evade cops by catching a train hours after he took his mum’s car and smashed into a stationary vehicle.

Marc Cooper was snared by police as he waited in the early hours to board a train in Huntly.

Marc Cooper outside Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The 19-year-old had taken the car following a boozy night out and crashed it yards from his home in the town centre.

Cooper told Aberdeen Sheriff Court he had “panicked” and “didn’t know what to do” when he careered into a parked car.

Chicken slice excuse

On Thursday, we told how a drink-driving pensioner – who claims to have worked for British intelligence – got behind the wheel while more than double the alcohol limit to go and buy chicken slices for his dog.

Alexander West-Boyle was caught after being involved in a minor collision at Tesco in Hill of Banchory.

Alexander West-Boyle.

The 73-year-old described the decision to drive after drinking “a couple of whiskies” as “stupid”.

He told Aberdeen Sheriff Court he had jumped in his car after realising he had run out of chicken slices, which he used to wrap his Border Collie’s heart medication in.

Man in court again on murder bid charge

A 35-year-old man has appeared in court for the third time charged with an alleged attempted murder in an Aberdeen high-rise block.

It comes after a 30-year-old man was found critically injured within the stairwell of Greig Court on Gerrard Street at around 11am on Monday, December 6.

Police Scotland outside Greig Court.

He was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to receive treatment for serious injuries.

Sandy Mundie, 35,  appeared in private for a third time at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in connection with the matter.

Thug’s shank threat

A vicious thug told another man he would “shank him”, throw acid in his friend’s face and burn his dogs alive, all over an unpaid drug debt.

Joginder Niner made the terrifying threats over Snapchat to a man he claims owed him £1,500 from a “commercial venture”.

Joginder Niner

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard the 34-year-old’s victim was a drug user and that Niner had become frustrated over the large debt remaining unpaid in October last year.

The builder, now living in Birmingham, threatened to pay the man a visit with his “boyz” and use a “shank”, the word often used to describe a homemade knife, to hurt him.

Drink-driver was going for cigarettes

A drink-driving mum was caught more than triple the booze limit after she made a late-night dash from an Aberdeen party to buy cigarettes.

Pamela Burnett came to police attention when they spotted her accelerating “aggressively” and driving over the speed limit.

Pamela Burnett.

And when they stopped the 27-year-old on Westburn Road in Aberdeen, officers immediately smelled booze on her.

She then failed a breath test and was arrested.

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