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Weekend court roll – fake gun ‘prank’ and 130mph speeder

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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.

Man threatened to burn pub down and bite manager’s face off

A man threatened to burn a pub to the ground and bite a manager’s face off in a heated row over a refund, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard on Monday.

Michael Masson had popped into The Foundry on Holburn Street and ordered some food, before staff noticed his intoxicated state.

Michael Masson.

He was asked to leave and refunded the £12, but insisted he had actually paid £50.

The 26-year-old quickly lost his cool and began shouting and swearing at staff, threatening to not only burn the bar down but also bite the manager’s face clean off.

Violent partner placed plastic bag over lover’s head

A domestic abuser who put a plastic bag over his lover’s head during a six-year reign of terror has avoided a prison sentence.

Robert Anderson, 42, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted subjecting his former partner to a torrent of violent abuse that resulted in the woman suffering shocking injuries and being diagnosed with whiplash and concussion.

Robert Anderson physically abused his partner between 2001 and 2007.

Anderson also physically abuse his partner while she was pregnant and later placed a plastic bag over the woman’s head a held it over her face.

He also put his foot on her neck leaving boot marks.

Repeat drink-driver mounted kerb while more than five times limit

A furniture repairman was caught driving while more than five times the legal alcohol limit at 3am in Aberdeen.

Repeat drink-driver Petre Fintoiu was spotted by cops in the early hours driving on Mounthooly Way and King’s Crescent and “fully” mounting the kerb.

And when officers stopped him they found the 37-year-old more than five times the legal booze limit.

The court heard Fintoiu had been drinking after receiving some upsetting news, but could not explain why he then got behind the wheel of the car.

Old Etonian dodges jail after hitting 130mph on NC500 in Ferrari

A wealthy English estate owner has dodged a jail sentence by “a hair’s breadth” after admitting hitting 130mph on the North Coast 500 in a blue Ferrari.

Old Etonian Piers Monckton, who owns the Stretton Estate and whose address is given in court papers as the Grade II listed Stretton Hall, Stafford, was not present at the hearing at Tain Sheriff Court because he was on a “pre-arranged family holiday”.

Piers Monckton hit 130mph in his blue Ferrari Roma.

But his solicitor Ronnie Simpson entered a plea of guilty to a single charge of dangerous driving at 130mph, with the court hearing the 59-year-old whizzed past stunned cops and only slowed down for sheep grazing close to the road.

He had originally been accused of hitting 145mph, which he denied, and prosecutors have now accepted a guilty plea to the amended charge.

Pensioner reacted badly to invitation on walk home from takeaway

An Inverness pensioner attacked another man on a walk back from a Chinese takeaway after being invited into his home.

John McLean, 66, of King Brude Road, Inverness, met the man in a Chinese takeaway on the night of July 31, 2021, Inverness Sheriff Court was told.

Fiscal depute Karen Poke said the pair walked together to the area where they lived and McLean was invited to his companion’s house.

“He took exception to this and punched the man. He was taken to hospital as a precaution because of a head injury. He suffered bruising and a cut to the back of the head,” Ms Poke said.

Dad who fell asleep on daughter back in court – this time for assaulting son

An Aberdeenshire dad who previously fell asleep on top of his daughter has appeared back in court after assaulting his two-year-old son at a local swimming pool.

The man, who has not been named to protect the identity of his children, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted striking the child – telling the court: “I just lost my temper.”

The dad has been blurred out to protect the identity of his children.

He claimed his two-year-old son had thrown a pair of swimming goggles at his face and cut his nose.

The man then removed the child from the pool and smacked him four times.

New Year revellers who broke into Co-op to steal gin escape punishment

Two New Year revellers escaped punishment on Tuesday after they used a road sign to smash their way into a Co-op to steal gin.

Amanda Neilly, 42, and Chelsie Spencer, 24, “spontaneously” decided to grab a nearby temporary traffic sign, and together used it to smash a glass panel in the door when they found the Inverurie store closed.

Amanda Neilly (left) and Chelsie Spencer (right) used a road sign to break into a Co-op and steal gin.

Neilly then clambered through the hole and grabbed five bottles of gin from behind the till area, while Spencer waited outside on North Street.

However, onlookers, who had witnessed the whole episode and shouted to try to stop the women, contacted police and officers raced to the scene and caught the duo red-handed.

Love-drunk man drove home from girlfriend’s house four times limit

A Fraserburgh man who jumped behind the wheel for a one-mile journey home from his girlfriend’s house was more than four times the alcohol limit.

Adam Sinclair has been banned from the road and handed a hefty fine for his “moment of stupidity” after a boozy evening at his girlfriend’s house.

West Road, Fraserburgh.

The 32-year-old got into his blue Ford at around 11.25pm to drive the short distance through a residential area between West Road and Albert Street on March 4.

Instead of opting for a 15-minute walk or a taxi fare for less than one mile, the home fitter drove – but attracted the attention of police on Bruan Court with his “erratic” driving.

Man blew £12,000 of grandparents’ money to fund gambling addiction

A Kiltarlity man has been handed unpaid work after blowing £12,000 of his elderly grandparents’ money to fund a gambling addiction.

Andrew MacLean, 26, squandered the fraudulently obtained money on gambling websites and also used it to pay his council tax and purchase other goods.

But MacLean, of Allaburn Place, Kiltarlity, who Inverness Sheriff Court heard was “heartbroken” over his actions, avoided a custodial sentence and was instead given unpaid work.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson had previously deferred sentence on MacLean for a background report to see “if there is an alternative to a custodial sentence”.

Couple attacked and robbed neighbour of iPhone and bank cards

A couple attacked their neighbour and robbed her of her iPhone and bank cards to fund their drug addiction.

Lana Smart, 33, and Malcolm Stewart, 38, accosted their female neighbour in a communal hallway as she took her dogs for a walk and asked to use her mobile phone.

Lana Smart and Malcolm Stewart robbed and assaulted their neighbour before stealing her belongings. Supplied by Facebook.

When she told the pair she had no credit, Stewart told the woman: “Well, Lana is taking it anyway.”

Smart then punched the woman twice in the face and took her iPhone 7 and bank cards.

Pensioner hit boy with Land Rover at school crossing

A pensioner who struck an eight-year-old boy with her Land Rover at a school crossing in Aberdeenshire has avoided a roads ban.

Elizabeth Grieve failed to stop at the pedestrian crossing which serves pupils from two nearby primary schools.

She collided with and injured the youngster who was on his bike at the crossing on September 29, 2020.

The 69-year-old originally denied a dangerous driving charge, but at a trial diet earlier this year admitted an amended careless driving charge.

Fraudster claimed more than £8,000 while lying about living with partner

A Moray woman fraudulently claimed more than £8,000 in benefits by pretending she lived alone.

Shelley Hendren scammed £8,355.60 from Moray Council and the Department for Work and Pensions over the course of a year while living in Forres.

Shelley Hendren appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court.

She told the government benefits agency she was single, had two dependent children and lived alone between August 2017 and August 2018.

The 35-year-old also told them she was receiving housing and child benefits, tax credits and had no other income.

Inverness porn addict caught with rape and child abuse images

A 22-year-old pornography addict was caught with images of rape and of children being sexually abused after seeking more extreme content to give him “a bigger hit”.

Edson Pacheco downloaded 254 still images and 28 videos of children and distributed two of them to another internet user.

But the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit was able to alert police to Pacheco’s crimes and a search of a property in Old Mill Lane on April 12 2021 revealed the indecent material on his mobile phone.

Officers also found scenes of rape on the device.

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Drug driver caught with blue mouth  after popping mystery pill in car park

A drugged-up dad who took a mystery pill was found driving his car with a bright blue tongue and lips after police received an anonymous tip-off, Elgin Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday.

Stuart Hunt, 39, drove his black Vauxhall Astra in the Halfords car park in Elgin after taking medication and a mystery blue pill which left him unsteady on his feet, drowsy and slurring his speech.

Halfords, Lossie Wynd North, Elgin.

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh told Elgin Sheriff Court how police barricaded Hunt’s car in the Lossie Wynd North car park to confront him after receiving an anonymous tip-off about him at 11am on July 2, 2020.

“The anonymous caller seemed to believe the driver to be intoxicated,” she said. “Police attended and used their vehicle to block the exit of the car park from Halfords to stop the vehicle from leaving.

Man stashed drugs worth nearly £5,000 at mum’s and auntie’s homes

An Elgin man was caught with cocaine and cannabis worth almost £5,000 stashed at his mum’s and auntie’s homes.

Jake Bremner, 21, was caught after police received intelligence about drug dealing at the properties in Springfield and Hazel Court.

Search warrants were executed on January 23 2021, with officers recovering cocaine worth £4,500, herbal cannabis with a value of £445, and £1,890 in cash, as well as other drug paraphernalia.

Bremner, of Springfield, Elgin, admitted being concerned in the supply of the drugs when he appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Man breached bail condition inside 12 hours – and hid under a blanket

A Peterhead man who was ordered not to approach his girlfriend was caught by police hiding under a blanket at her home less than 12 hours later.

Sean McKay was found by police at the woman’s address in Peterhead despite being made subject to a condition not to approach or contact her or enter her home on the same day.

Sean McKay hid under a blanket when police arrived.

The 27-year-old was ordered on Monday not to go near his partner but was found by police hiding in her home at around 10:50pm that same day.

McKay’s own solicitor described the offence as an “egregious” breach of an order by the court.

Man jailed for spitting at police after drinking too much at dad’s funeral

A man has been jailed after having too much to drink at his father’s funeral in Inverness and spitting at police officers.

Alan White had travelled from his home in Bo’Ness in Forth Valley for the service on December 11 last year and ended up remanded in custody ever since.

The 32-year-old, described as an Inverness prisoner, had gone out drinking but left his jacket in city centre licensed premises.

But Inverness Sheriff Court was told he was not allowed back in because of his intoxication and door staff forcibly removed him.

Fake gun YouTube ‘prank’ backfires

A teenager made a “catastrophic error of judgement” after bringing an imitation gun to an Aberdeen shopping centre as part of a planned “prank” on police officers for his YouTube channel.

Adam Tudja, now 20, had purchased a toy gun and painted it black to appear real before bringing it into Aberdeen city centre for a “foolish” stunt he planned to film involving police.

Adam Tudja brought a replica pistol into Aberdeen.

Tudja, who was 19 at the time, decided to abort the prank, but was spotted on CCTV by a security guard on the roof garden at the St Nicholas Shopping Centre in Aberdeen when he brought the replica firearm to show his friends.

He appeared to be in possession of a black pistol and was seen walking around with it in the early hours of the morning of April 3 last year.

Inverness student caught in charge of vehicle after taking cannabis

An accountancy student who took cannabis to help her sleep was banned from the roads on Thursday after she was caught in charge of a vehicle with the drug still in her system.

Emma Ross was not someone who typically used the drug, Inverness Sheriff Court was told, but had taken it as a sleep aid the night before she encountered police officers in the city in January of last year.

The 24-year-old pled guilty to being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal drug drive limit for cannabis.

Fiscal depute Hilary Michopoulou told the court that the incident, on Carsegate Road, Inverness, occurred on January 10 last year just after 8pm.

‘The end is near’: Aberdeen man sent terrifying texts to mum and brother

A man sent chilling messages to his own mother and brother where he threatened to “stab” other family members – telling one “the end is near”.

James Thouless, 37, wrote a series of terrifying WhatsApp messages to his mum and brother telling them he was going to “f***” them up and use a knife on other members of the family.

James Thouless walking out of Aberdeen Sheriff Court
James Thouless sent chilling WhatsApp messages to family members.

In one message to his mother, Thouless told her “I’m coming, c***”.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that he later climbed over a wall and smashed her window.

Lerwick lorry driver loses licence and job after being caught drink-driving

A Lerwick lorry driver has been banned from the road after admitting driving while nearly five times the alcohol limit.

Robert Gear, 59, of Arheim, admitted driving while nearly five times the alcohol limit in Lerwick on 7 March when he was working as a delivery driver.

But defence agent Tommy Allan told Lerwick Sheriff Court that reading was taken by police a number of hours after the alarm was first raised – and in that time he had consumed more alcohol at home.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Gear visited Lerwick Health Centre while working as a delivery driver, but staff said he was “clearly drunk” and phoned the police and his employer.

Welder hit with £1,000 fine after assault on bouncer at nightspot

A welder has been hit with a £1,000 fine after assaulting a bouncer who turfed him out of an Aberdeen bar, in an incident branded deplorable.

Father-of-two Michael Brown punched a doorman at Siberia Bar and Hotel on Belmont Street, Aberdeen, when he attempted to get back into the nightspot after being flung out.

Michael Brown assaulted at doorman at Siberia Bar and Hotel in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard the 40-year-old then assaulted a police officer when he refused to leave the area.

Brown, a welder, claimed that he only tried to get back into Siberia Bar because he was stranded in Aberdeen and wanted to pick up his friend’s house keys.

Noisy neighbour threatened to ‘put blade in someone’s face’

A noisy neighbour alarmed those living near him when he stormed into a garden at nearly 5am threatening to “put a blade in someone’s face”, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard on Friday.

Owen Masson, known as Bonner, was heard trashing and kicking wheelie bins, slamming doors and shouting threats from his Aberdeen garden in the very early hours of the morning during the first coronavirus lockdown.

Owen Bonner appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

After one neighbour heard him shout he was going to “put a blade in someone’s face” she called the police to his Deevale Gardens home.

Fiscal depute Sean Ambrose told Aberdeen Sheriff Court that police found him in the garden at 4.40am on May 23, 2020.

Bad blood culminates in doorstep attack

A history of bad blood reached boiling point when a Kyle of Lochalsh woman made a late-night visit and punched another woman several times.

Now 35-year-old Catherine Joyce, of Railway Terrace, is taking anger management counselling, Inverness Sheriff Court heard.

Joyce appeared for sentence before Sheriff Gary Aitken after a background report had been called for following her guilty plea to assault to injury.

The court was told that it was 12.30am on May 29, 2020, when Joyce went round to the woman’s house nearby.

Woman caught smuggling SIM into prison after ‘rub-down search’

A woman has been fined more than £1,000 after a “rub-down search” caught her trying to smuggle a SIM card into an Inverness prison while visiting her boyfriend.

Kirsty Balcezak, 33, was subjected to a “rub-down search” as she entered HMP Inverness, commonly known as Porterfield, on March 2.

Kirsty Balcezak tried to smuggled a SIM card into Porterfield.

But staff became suspicious when she failed to fully raise her arms. As she was made to do so, the SIM card fell to the floor.

Balcezak, of Blackmuir Cottages, Keith, pled guilty to a single charge of bringing, introducing or attempting to introduce a prohibited article into a prison at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Drug trafficker fled to Spain after £75,000 of heroin recovered in wood

A drug trafficker who fled abroad before a court appearance has been jailed for three years after he was brought back from Spain to face justice.

James Metcalf was placed under police surveillance in 2015 before officers deployed a sniffer dog to search woodland near the A90 road in Aberdeenshire.

A haul of heroin worth more than £75,000 on the streets was recovered and drugs tick lists and scales were also found at an address linked to Melcalf in Bon Accord Street, in Aberdeen.

Metcalf was detained but subsequently bailed after appearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. He failed to appear for a subsequent hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh in March 2017.

Man’s ‘jocular’ dancing led to him threatening to burn down pub

A man whose “jocular” karaoke dance routine got him thrown out of an Aberdeen pub told police he would “burn down” the bar.

Edward Tevendale, 50, was out celebrating his birthday with family and friends at Wilson’s Sports Bar when he was ejected for dancing exuberantly to the music from the karaoke machine.

Edward Tevendale told police he wanted to ‘burn down’ Wilson’s Sports Bar.

When police arrived and arrested Tevendale he told them he would “find out where they lived” and burn down their homes.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Tevendale then shouted that he was also “going to burn down Wilson’s”.

Trio in dock after discovery of heroin and cocaine worth almost £6,000

Two men and a woman have appeared in the dock charged in connection with a near-£6,000 drug haul discovered after a targeted police raid.

Dwayne Harmitt, 29, Samuel Lowton, 27, and Kerry Mackie, 41, have been charged with being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs.

It comes after police executed a warrant to raid a home in the Bedford Road area of Aberdeen on Thursday, March 31.

A quantity of crack cocaine and heroin was seized with a street value of around £5,900.

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