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Weekend court roll – the Dracula killer and Donald Trump

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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.

Cannabis dealer caught red-handed

A drug dealer who was caught handing over cannabis for cash after police raided his Aberdeen home had avoided prison.

Christopher Forfar was warned he could face jail after police caught him dealing the class B drug from his kitchen during the coronavirus lockdown in June 2020.

Christopher Forfar, leaving Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The 31-year-old addict’s home was raided by police after cops received intelligence that Forfar was selling and supplying drugs from there.

A search of his home uncovered 291g of cannabis with a street value of £4,210, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Charity tin thief

A prolific shoplifter has been imprisoned after he stole a charity tin from a petrol station – then returned hours later and swiped a second tin.

Kieran McLean, 27, was spotted by a worker at Peterhead Motors as he sneaked back in and cut the string that attached a tin to the counter.

Peterhead Motors Garage.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how over several days in September last year McLean also attempted to break into a confectionery shop in the town and then nicked food from an Iceland store.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one charge of attempting to break into a sweet shop.

Cop biter jailed

A thug who left a police officer needing Hepatitis B and tetanus jabs after a vicious biting attack has been handed a two-year prison sentence.

Patryk Pogodzinski, 26, drew blood when he bit a police officer on the thumb while resisting arrest for breaching his bail conditions on August 27 last year.

Patryk Pogodzinski at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The attack took place on Seaton Road in Aberdeen after police spotted Pogodzinski cycling around the area on his bike, in breach of his conditions.

He admitted two charges of assault to injury and another of assault, as well as a breach of bail.

Ex-squaddie spared jail

A traumatised former soldier who battered an Inverurie man with a snow shovel has been spared jail after a sheriff was told he had sorted his life out.

Kristopher Knight rained down repeated blows on his 39-year old victim following an argument in a garden on Polinar Place, Inverurie, in July 2020.

Kristopher Knight.

It took a jury less than two hours to find the 27-year-old guilty by majority of assault to severe injury with a weapon at a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court last month.

The court heard how ex-serviceman Knight’s brutal assault on July 18 2020 left the man with a broken arm, fractured elbow and badly injured eye socket.

Pair deny playing field attack

Two men have denied claims they seriously injured a man with blades and a hammer during an assault on Aberdeen playing fields.

Craig Strachan, 26, and Craig Dick, 34, are alleged to have, while acting with another person, attacked the man at Sheddocksley playing fields on September 6.

Dick also faces a charge over the death of a nine-month-old cavapoochon named Ziggy, who was seriously injured during an incident at the playing fields involving a Staffordshire bull terrier.

The charge against Strachan and Dick states they repeatedly struck the man to the head with bladed articles and a hammer or similar implement, as well as repeatedly kicking and punching him to the body, all to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

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Man jailed after seven-hour siege

A man who provoked a seven-hour police siege in Aberdeen has been jailed after he told officers he would “stab them in the neck” with a machete.

Jamie Selfridge, 33, barricaded himself inside a flat on the city’s Wales Street on Sunday, prompting the marathon stand-off involving police and firearms officers.

Police at the scene of the stand-off in Wales Street.

Today he appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted his involvement in the incident.

The court was told Selfridge threatened officers at the scene, telling them to back off from the door as he had a machete and a knife in his possession.

‘Dracula’ killer dies in prison

A notorious killer who stabbed an Aberdeen man to death then tried to hack off his head died in prison of a heart attack, an inquiry has ruled.

Jeffrey Cattell, who was dubbed Dracula during his trial at the Old Bailey in London,  murdered and mutilated his neighbour James Milne – known as Scottish Jim – in an alcohol-fueled rage in June 1997.

Jeffrey Cattell who had the nickname of 'Dracula'
Jeffrey Cattell was jailed for life for murdering James Milne

At the murder scene in Maidstone, horrified detectives discovered an attempt had been made to cut off Mr Milne’s head and his body had been butchered with a pair of scissors.

After being found guilty of the killing in 1999 Cattell was serving out his life sentence at HMP Shotts in North Lanarkshire.

Aberdeen engineer groped woman

An Aberdeen engineering inspector sexually assaulted a woman he had met only minutes before when she showed him around her garden.

Kenneth Robertson had complimented his victim’s garden after passing it by chance in July 2021.

She invited him to look at other parts of it, before offering him a tour of her house, which the court heard she was “proud” of maintaining.

Robertson, who was living in Dundee at the time and had been travelling back to his family home after visiting a bike shop, was shown inside the woman’s house.

Supercar speeders in court

Four men who drove £600,000 worth of high-performance sports cars into the Highlands then got caught speeding at almost 100mph have been banned from driving.

The motorists were also fined a total £4,400 by Sheriff Gary Aitken, who warned the drivers they were fortunate he couldn’t forfeit their expensive vehicles, which included a McLaren 675LT and Lamborghini Huracan.

Steven Brown, left, Finlay Coghill, centre, and Walter Milne appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court after they were clocked speeding in their high-performance cars.

They all admitted a lesser charge of driving carelessly at 95mph on a one-and-a-half mile stretch of the 60mph A890 near Glencarron on April 27 2019.

The original charge accused them of dangerously driving at over 120mph, which would have entitled the sheriff to seize the cars.

Christmas Eve drink-driver

A driver has been banned from the roads after he was caught while more than four times the drink-drive limit on Christmas Eve.

Vladut Hostina, 27, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted getting behind the wheel after meeting a friend for drinks during the festive period.

Vladut Hostina leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Police stopped Hostina’s vehicle on Aberdeen’s Union Street at around 9pm on Christmas Eve and carried out a roadside breath test that showed he was under the influence.

A further test at the police station showed that Hostina was driving while more than four times the drink-drive limit.

Man almost died after brutal attack

A man was almost killed in a sustained and violent attack after he asked a group of people to leave his house after they had been partying for two days.

Gary Paterson returned to his upstairs flat in Miller Street, Inverness, on March 5 last year to find two men and two women drunk inside.

One of them was William Williamson, 23, who appeared before Lord Harrower at the High Court in Inverness today and admitted attempted murder.

Mr Paterson was severely injured and permanently disfigured when Williamson repeatedly kicked and punched him.

Sex predator’s chilling threats

A convicted sex predator sent vile Christmas messages to a woman he had only been dating for six weeks telling her to “kill herself”.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Troy Sutherland, 26, turned hostile when the woman ended their brief relationship and asked him to come and pick up his belongings.

Troy Sutherland.

A bombardment of chilling messages and phone calls then followed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – with Sutherland threatening to “slit” the woman’s throat.

He also told her to kill herself and called her a “fat waste of space”.

Bowling alley assault

A drunken dad-of-two knocked over a barmaid after he was asked to leave an Elgin bowling alley for repeatedly ignoring Covid rules.

Lewis Milne got “very drunk very quickly” after drinking without eating before the assault at Pinz in Elgin on November 11 2020.

Pinz Bowling, Elgin.

He “repeatedly ignored the Covid regulations” during his drinks and while being escorted from the premises, Elgin Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Ruaridh Allison said the 28-year-old knocked one barmaid to the ground as was ushered from the bar.

‘Twas the fight before Christmas

A couple’s festive night out ended with hurled threats and thrown punches after they were ordered to leave an Aberdeen bar on Christmas Eve.

James Wilson and Leigh-Anne Mowat caused trouble at the Great Western Hotel’s Terrace Bar on December 24 last year after consuming too many yuletide drinks.

Leigh-Anne Mowat and James Wilson.

The Christmas spirit did not extend to their behaviour, as Wilson, 38, turned destructive and aggressive, issued death threats and destroyed a door.

Mowat, 26, didn’t hold back either – repeatedly punching a barmaid and kicking another on the leg.

Fraud probe into Trump golf course

A US prosecutor probing former President Donald Trump’s business practices is focusing on allegedly “fraudulent” valuations of his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

The inquiry, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges the Trump Organisation used the “misleading” asset valuations to obtain economic benefits including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.

Donald Trump on a visit to the Menie Estate before his golf resort was built.

Officials have been reviewing the 75-year-old’s annual financial statements, tax submissions and other documents in connection with Trump International Golf Club Scotland.

Now, in new filings to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the Attorney General claims to have uncovered “significant” evidence.

Indecent images found on phone

A ‘naive’ young Orcadian avoided being sent to jail after indecent images of young children were found on his phone.

Carl Goodram, who is already on the Sex Offenders Register, was given a three-year community payback order when he appeared for sentence at Kirkwall Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

The court previously heard he was being monitored following his previous conviction when the images were discovered during a routine police check on February 7 last year.

They depicted children as young as two, partially clothed, appearing to to be engaged in
sexual activity, with emojis covering their genitals.

Lidl pickaxe raider

An Aberdeen man who was on the hunt for alcohol used a pickaxe to smash his way into a Lidl store in the middle of the night.

Graeme Fyfe was caught red-handed during the ill-fated raid as his bumbling bid to get booze triggered the King Street store’s burglar alarm.

Graeme Fyfe.

Police raced to the shop and found the 47-year-old still inside, gathering seven bottles of vodka.

Officers also discovered a pickaxe next to a shutter door, which Fyfe had damaged as he broke in.

Sex offender had online aliases

A sex offender who used multiple aliases online without informing police has been fined £210.

Calum Thomson was placed on the sex offenders’ register, which requires him to notify police about names he is using, after he was caught in an online grooming sting by an undercover police officer posing as a 12-year-old girl in 2020.

But when officers visited his home in March last year and checked his internet devices they found two usernames that Thomson had not told them about, and he later provided police with a list of other aliases he has been using online.

Thomson, 57, of Bruce Gardens, Inverness pled guilty to a single charge of failing to comply with the notification requirement of his sex offender registration at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Solicitor Patrick O’Dea for Thomson said his client was already subject to a community payback order that he was now in breach of.

Handing down a fine of £210 on Wednesday, Sheriff Margaret Neilson said: “I have taken the view that I don’t need to get a further report and can deal with it today.”

Woman threw wine bottle at bar customer

A woman threw a wine bottle at a customer when staff asked her to leave an Aberdeen pub after flouting Covid rules.

Emma Russell had been drinking in Molly Malones on Union Street but caused a stir when she began moving from table to table, speaking to various people and upsetting customers.

With Covid rules in the bar requiring customers to stay at their table and not mix with others, staff eventually asked the 34-year-old to leave.

But far from going quietly, Russell began throwing glasses at a wall, causing them to smash, and even grabbed a wine bottle from another table and aimed a throw at a male customer.

Man accused of attempted murder

A man has appeared in court charged with attempted murder after a 22-year-old was found with multiple stab wounds on an Aberdeen street.

Police were called to Torry’s Balnagask Road, near its junction with Girdleness Road, on the evening of Tuesday January 11 following reports of a disturbance.

Police at Balnagask Road on January 11.

A man was found seriously injured with a number of stab wounds and was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where his condition was described as stable.

And now, Andrius Lukosevicius has appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court charged in connection with the incident.

Schoolboy rapist locked up

An Aberdeen teenager who carried out serious sexual assaults on two young boys when he was 12 has been locked up for more than two years.

Declan Morrison, 18, was given two-and-a-half years detention by judge Lord Richardson at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Declan Morrison is led away from the High Court in Aberdeen.

He was found guilty following trial at the High Court in Aberdeen on charges that he raped one of his victims at a play park in the city in 2015 when they were both aged 12.

He was also found guilty by majority of attempting to rape an eight-year-old boy in the same year.

Former chef given time to address addiction issues

A former Aberdeen restaurateur has been given four weeks to prove he is willing to tackle his drug addiction issues after he admitted a string of theft charges.

Chris Tonner pleaded guilty to a series of crimes, including stealing a car and trying to break into others, last month.

Former Aberdeen chef Chris Tonner has been struggling with drug addiction issues

The former chief executive of now-defunct company Beetroot Restaurants Limited appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing today.

The 40-year-old was handed a four-week reprieve as a chance to prove he can comply with a drug treatment and testing order ahead of any sentencing.

Handbags at dawn

An Aberdeen man has been fined after a “handbags at dawn” encounter with an irate taxi driver.

Kyle Barclay, known as Kyle Lindsay’s violent encounter began when he drove into the taxi rank on Chapel Street in Aberdeen city centre.

A driver quickly approached Lindsay, 28, and challenged him – reminding him the rank was only to be used by taxis.

But Lindsay did not take kindly to this and flew into a rage, assaulting the man by grabbing his neck and attempting to kick and punch him.

Famous piper caught driving while more than four times the booze limit

A world-famous bagpiper who drove his car while more than four times the drink-drive limit has been banned from the roads for a year and fined £700 on Friday.

Euan MacCrimmon was spotted staggering to his Volvo SUV before getting in and pulling away.

Euan MacCrimmon.

His driving then drew the concern of other road users and police were called to stop his car, after which tests showed MacCrimmon to be more than four times the legal drink-drive limit.

World champion bagpiper, MacCrimmon, of Slackbuie Park Mews, pled guilty to a single charge of drink driving on his own street, Slackbuie Distributor Road, Sir Walter Scott Drive, Old Edinburgh Road, Castle Heather Drive and Balloan Road in Inverness.

Student who sexually assaulted girl at Hogmanay party handed supervision

An Aberdeen University student who sexually assaulted a young woman during a Hogmanay party has been added to the sex offenders register.

Dominic Gallo asked the woman if she “wanted to call a taxi” before taking her into his bedroom and assaulting her, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

Dominic Gallo.

The 23-year-old kissed and groped her without her consent while she was incapacitated at a flat on Castle Terrace in Aberdeen on New Year’s Day last year.

Gallo pled guilty to one charge of sexual assault last month and background reports were ordered.

Pensioner, 82, allowed to keep licence despite causing crash

An 82-year-old woman has been allowed to keep her licence – despite admitting causing a crash by carelessly overtaking a tractor.

Ann MacFarlane had been stuck behind the tractor on the A980 at Lumphanan for around two miles when she decided to try and overtake the vehicle as it made a turn.

But the pensioner misjudged the distance between her and a car coming in the opposite direction, forcing the vehicle to veer onto the verge and crash into a parapet.

Fiscal depute David Rodger told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened around 2.30pm on August 20 2021.

Dyce driver hit woman while ‘testing out brakes’

A woman was hospitalised just days before Christmas after being thrown into the air when she was struck by a careless driver – who was out “testing his brakes”.

Jamie Ritchie failed to spot two women crossing the road in Dyce as he sped along Riverview Drive because he wanted to test the brakes out on his black Ford Fiesta.

Jamie Ritchie.

The 23-year-old’s wing mirror struck one woman, flinging her into the air and causing her to wipe out her friend in the process.

Both women landed “a few feet” away on the Dyce pavement, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

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