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

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

Mobile phone thug

On Monday, we told how a thug avoided a jail sentence despite subjecting his girlfriend to months of abuse and smashing her mobile phone into her head.

Jealous Anthony McHugh frequently flew into rages about Snapchats and text messages his partner received.

Anthony McHugh.

The 37-year-old even became angry when a relative of the woman messaged her to tell her his grandfather had died.

McHugh repeatedly called the man in response, demanding to know his location and threatening to kill him.

Topless grandad escapes punishment

A topless grandad who taunted a Westhill cafe waitress after she asked him to wear a face mask has escaped punishment.

Eric McKenzie, 78, had visited Bothy 57 in Kirkton of Skene for a coffee after boozing at a pub.

Eric McKenzie leaving court.

The pensioner finished his coffee outside and went inside to speak to some friends, but was challenged by a member of staff about not wearing a face mask.

McKenzie swore at the woman and left, only to return and continue his tirade of abuse, calling a customer’s mother “fat”.

Handyman’s secret camera

A handyman who fitted a secret spy camera inside an Aberdeen family’s home for a month so he could get his sexual kicks was jailed for more than two years today.

Robert Lawson – who had been carrying out home improvements for the family – recorded more than 150 videos of the couple and their two children in various states of undress.

Robert Lawson installed hidden cameras at a home in Aberdeen

The 67-year-old – who was branded “disgusting and deplorable” in court – used the DIY work as cover so he could move the camera into different bedrooms around the house.

His traumatised victims say they no longer feel safe in their own home, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard.

Legal first for traveller

A traveller has become the first person in the country to be charged over claims he didn’t possess the correct documentation when he arrived at Aberdeen International Airport.

Lee Woollerton is facing two charges under The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

It is alleged that on May 21 2021 on his arrival in Scotland at Aberdeen International Airport he failed to possess a Covid-19 testing package for himself.

A second charge alleges the 54-year-old also failed to complete a passenger locator form.

Cannabis grower in court

A man has been handed unpaid work after being caught growing a dozen cannabis plants in a bedroom at his Aberdeen flat.

Police officers executed a search warrant at Reggie Crook’s home on the Lang Stracht after receiving intelligence regarding the cultivation of cannabis.

Reggie Crook.

And while searching the property, officers discovered a tent containing 12 plants in a bedroom.

Various equipment including fans, lighting and thermometers, were also found in the 27-year-old’s home.

Boyfriend disfigured girlfriend

A woman has been left permanently disfigured and missing six of her teeth following a vicious assault carried out by her boyfriend.

Euan Adams’ girlfriend was left bleeding and in agony after he hit her so hard she smashed her mouth into a kitchen worktop.

Six of the woman’s teeth were bent back in her mouth and she needed surgery to try to repair the damage, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Brian Young said the pair had been in a relationship for two years but an argument broke out when Adams was asked to leave the flat they shared in Bonnyview Drive, Aberdeen.

Pervert joked about kidnapping

A ‘vile’ pervert made jokes about kidnapping children on an online group where he shared child sexual abuse images, a court has heard.

Spanish national Rafael Cobacho, 29, also said he “preferred defenceless babies” as he spoke to fellow paedophiles on an encrypted online chat forum.

Rafael Cobacho leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He has now appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted possessing more than 1,000 indecent images and videos of children.

Some of the pictures and videos found on Cobacho’s computer were of kids as young as one month old and some featured “sadistic sexual activity”.

Seagull shooter

A man who shot seagulls with a catapult, stole their eggs and kept an injured bird in a cage in his kitchen has been fined £940 and ordered to surrender his weapons.

Bryan Maclennan, 34, was carrying a seagull in a plastic bag when he was spotted by police in Invergordon and his crimes came to light.

Bryan Maclennan outside Tain Sheriff Court

Maclennan, of Firhill, Alness, previously pled guilty to three charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act when he appeared at Tain Sheriff Court last month.

He admitted two charges of intentionally or recklessly injuring a wild bird by striking it with a ball bearing from a slingshot or similar instrument and a third charge of taking or destroying eggs from a wild bird.

Horrific sex abuse

A military firefighter was jailed for seven years on Tuesday after raping a vulnerable underage girl during a catalogue of abuse against five children.

Stephen Baker, 54, had denied the offences during an earlier trial but was convicted of one charge of rape, one of indecent assault and five of indecent conduct.

The offences were committed between 1985 and 2006 and all occurred in Moray.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told he raped the teenage girl at his then home in Lossiemouth while his own children were asleep in their beds.

Day’s worth of sick images

A pervert who was caught with more than 24 hours’ worth of sexual video footage of children has been placed on the sex offender’s register.

Yu Jo Kristopher Wong was snared by police on February 3 last year and was found to have hundreds of images and video files of mostly underage girls on his computer collected over a period of six years.

Yu Jo Kristopher Wong leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The children in the pictures and video discovered were between two and 12 years old.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court also heard that reports showed that Wong also lacked empathy towards his victims.

Bar brawler

A thug has been warned he could be jailed after breaking a man’s jaw so badly he had to have metal plates inserted following a vicious Dingwall bar brawl.

Andrew Urquhart’s victim needed surgery on his jaw, with two plates inserted, after the “devastating” assault at the Hen House Public Bar, where both men had been drinking.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard a “scuffle” broke out at the pub following an argument in which a drink was thrown in Urquhart’s face.

But the 55-year-old then lashed out with a single punch when his victim tried to intervene.

Drug dealer locked up

An Aberdeen drug dealer caught with cannabis with a street value of more than £17,500 has been locked up for a year.

Artur Skurjat claimed the drugs were for his own personal use and only got sold to a “few” friends – an excuse that was scoffed at by Sheriff William Summers.

Artur Skurjat

The sheriff said it was “abundantly clear” that Skurjat, 45, was running a “significant cannabis dealing operation”.

Fiscal depute Brian Young said police suspicions were raised when Skurjat’s black Mercedes pulled a sudden u-turn in front of cops on patrol outside Rosehill Court on January 16 this year.

Paedophile avoids prison

A man who downloaded more than 2,300 indecent images and videos of children has avoided a prison sentence.

Nigel Davies was caught with thousands of images and videos of children, aged between six months and 15, engaging in sexual activity.

Nigel Davies leaving Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The 42-year-old’s sick collection had a total combined video time of two days and 20 hours,  Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

His mobile phone held more than a total of 1,279 images and 1,083 videos of children.

Jail after man’s sorid collection found

On Wednesday we told how a pervert caught with indecent images of children for the third time was jailed and placed on the Sex Offender’s Register.

Adam Koltowski was caught downloading indecent images of children over the course of three months before being caught in October 2020.

Adam Koltowski

The 50-year-old had material involving girls and boys aged three to 13 years old engaging in sex with each other and with adult males, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Brian Young said the sordid collection was uncovered after police searched Koltoswki’s Aberdeen home following a tip-off from the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit.

Ex-squaddie tormented former girlfriend

A former soldier has blamed his £1,500 a week cocaine habit on a campaign abuse against his ex-girlfriend.

Kristopher Knight, 26, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted issuing threats and sending abusive messages to his former partner after she ended the relationship.

Kristopher Knight leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The Inverurie man also said he would burn down the woman’s home and her father’s workshop, telling her he would “hit her where it hurt”.

In another message, Knight told her she would “regret accusing me ever again” and “play with fire and you’re going to get burned”.

Tourist crashes into cop car

A tourist who tried to overtake a slow-moving motorhome on the NC500 found himself on a collision course with a police car.

Robin Tuddenham’s black Audi pulled into the opposite lane and straight into the path of the cop car, causing it to swerve off the road and crash into a tree.

The 53-year-old, who lives in Yorkshire, had been holidaying in Ullapool with his wife at the time of the incident, Inverness Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Susan Love said on September 16 last year, at around 9.30am, a pair of cyclists were travelling at around 10 miles per hour along the popular tourist route, followed by the motorhome.

Learner driver’s 130mph police chase

A learner driver who led police on a 130mph chase along the A9 has been jailed.

David McDonough held only a provisional driving licence when he sped away from cops on the Perth-Inverness road, jumping red lights, swerving between lanes and mounting verges.

Dangerous driver David McDonough.

The reckless eight-mile chase was only brought to an end when McDonough’s Volkswagen Passat had its tyres punctured by a police Stinger device and was sandwiched between two cop cars.

Fiscal depute Karen Poke told the court that the incident began on a stretch of the A9 near Kingussie, just before 10.30pm on March 9 last year, when it was raining and the road surface was wet.

Desperate dealer’s bum wrap

A cannabis dealer who was caught red-handed by police tried to hide his mobile phone up his bottom in an attempt to throw cops off the scent.

Dad-of-one Maciej Maziarski, 39, has been stopped by police on Eday Drive in Aberdeen and made the desperate move as they were about to search his car, which was filled with the distinct aroma of cannabis.

Maciej Maziarski.

During the search, police noted that Maziarski had a large amount of cash in his pockets and wallet and soon after they found a blue lockbox containing a quantity of cannabis.

It was while undergoing a full-body search in custody that Maziarski produced a black Nokia phone from his buttocks.

New neighbour from hell

The new neighbour from hell spent the night in the cells after trashing next door’s garden just days after moving in.

Kieran Forsyth only arrived at the property in Inverurie’s Aquhorthies Circle last week but has already threatened his new neighbours.

Kieran Forsyth

The 24-year-old appeared from custody at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to a charge of acting in a threatening or abusive manner.

The court heard how he turned up the door of his neighbour uninvited before demanding entry. When that didn’t happen he started shouting, swearing and trashing the garden.

12-time disqualified driver

A man who was caught driving whilst disqualified for the 12th time found the “temptation just too much” and jumped behind the wheel, a court has heard.

Gavin Cruickshank, 60, was caught by police on the A93 in Banchory after he purchased a vehicle and took it for a spin because he got “bored”.

Disqualified driver Gavin Cruickshank

He has driving charges dating back to 2001 and has received “imprisonment after imprisonment” for driving while banned, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Cruickshank, who suffers from learning difficulties, admitted one charge of driving a motor vehicle whilst disqualified on January 10 this year.

Mistaken identity

Two men who chased a child with metal poles in a case of mistaken identity were in a state of “intoxicated” confusion.

Michael Morrice and Gavin Reid ran after the 14-year-old boy in Torry after wrongly thinking he and his pals had been in a fight earlier in the day.

Michael Morrice, left, and Gavin Reid.

It was a case of mistaken identity – but the pair didn’t realise that until after they had terrified the group of teens on May 30 last year.

The youngsters had been hanging around outside Keystore convenience shop on Grampian Road before the unprovoked altercation happened, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Firebomb threats

A man who was ranting and swearing in the street at 9am told cops he was going to follow them home and “firebomb” their houses.

Hugh Clyde was reported to police by his neighbour at around 11.20am who was concerned after the 59-year-old had been shouting profanity in the street at Provost Graham Avenue, Aberdeen, for “a number of hours”.

Hugh Clyde.

When officers took Clyde into custody, he made a number of threats to assault them and set their homes on fire while also making vile sexual threats to a female cop.

He then told a group of police constables he would follow them home and “firebomb” their homes.

Snared by Covid travel rules

Two men snared for a drug deal after a 40-mile car journey broke Covid rules have been jailed for a total of more than nine years.

Stuart Kelly, 43 and Daniel Pratt, 40, were caught last March 5 in Aberdeen city centre in a Volkswagen Golf registered to an address in Fraserburgh.

Prosecutor Chris Fyffe told the High Court in Glasgow: “Police stopped the vehicle to find out the purposes of the journey which was during Covid-19 restrictions.”

Officers went on to find heroin worth around £12,000 in the vehicle.

DJ accused of rapes

An Aberdeen DJ has appeared in court charged with two counts of rape.

Alisdair Randalls made no plea when he appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old is facing one charge of rape and sexual assault by penetration and another of rape, sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault.

Randalls, whose address was given as Aberdeen, was committed for further examination.

Foster couple deny abuse

On Thursday, a north-east foster couple appeared in court accused of physically abusing five children in their care over a 24-year period.

Sandra and Andrew Harper, both 61, are facing 13 charges that they assaulted their foster children at their home in Cairnbulg, Fraserburgh, when the kids were between three and 18 years old.

The couple’s five accusers, three boys and two girls, claim the Harpers physically assaulted them, degraded them and verbally abused them between 1985 and 2009.

In one charge, Sandra Harper is accused of repeatedly forcing a girl to eat her own vomit when she was a child.

Man bit off part of pal’s ear

An Alness labourer who bit off part of a pal’s ear in a “square go which got out of hand” has avoided jail – because of his “good work ethic”.

Sandon Urquhart ripped off part of the man’s ear and spat it over a fence during a brawl in a Firhill, Alness, car park.

Although surgeons tried to reattach the severed piece, unfortunately it did not graft and had to be removed.

And now Urquhart, 23, has dodged a prison sentence over the horrific assault, with Sheriff Sara Matheson highlighting his “good work ethic”.

Predator’s sick acts

A twisted pervert who forced a young girl to eat his faeces before sexually abusing her in the bath was jailed for six years on Friday.

Lewis Smith, 27, was also jailed for raping a woman whilst she slept and was unable to provide consent.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Smith, targeted the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at locations in Arbroath and Montrose between 2016 and 2019.

A jury heard how Smith, of Inverkeilor, Angus, subjected his first victim to a series of horrifying assaults which saw him bite her nose and strangle her.

Elgin predator jailed after raping teenage girls

A prolific predator has been jailed for eight years after grooming underage girls during a catalogue of sex crimes against 10 victims.

A judge told Matthew Watson, 36, that his behaviour was “utterly despicable” and was motivated by his desire to use them for his own sexual gratification.

Matthew Watson leaving the High Court in Aberdeen.

Lord Richardson said that it was clear that his actions have had a profound and long-lasting effect on some victims.

The judge told Watson at the High Court in Edinburgh: “As you will surely recognise, a lengthy period in custody is the only appropriate sentence I can pass on you to reflect your appalling conduct.”

Delivery driver stamped seagull to death

An Inverness delivery driver who stamped a young herring gull to death did it to “put it out of its misery”.

Alistair Davidson’s actions outside a Thurso shop were described as “completely inappropriate” when his case called at Wick Sheriff Court.

Davidson, 67, admitted having intentionally or recklessly injured a wild bird by throwing a stick at it and stamping on its head fatally injuring it, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.

The early morning incident occurred as Davidson was making a delivery at The Co-op store in Meadow Lane, Thurso, on August 17 last year.

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