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Weekend court roll – a sick soldier and a million pound council fraud case

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

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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.

Crowd of 50 watched as man resisted police outside McDonald’s

A crowd of around 50 people gathered to watch as a man resisted police efforts to arrest him outside an Inverness city centre fast food restaurant.

Patrick Stewart was traced to McDonald’s in Inverness by officers who wished to arrest him in relation to a separate matter.

Patrick Stewart caused a commotion outside McDonald’s in Inverness. Image: DC Thomson

But he refused to go quietly, tensing his arms and using his legs to prevent the police van doors from closing.

Stewart, 23, appeared via videolink from custody at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously admitted resisting, obstructing or hindering police officers in relation to the incident on October 3 of this year as well as a charge of failing to comply with a previously imposed curfew.

Man sentenced over Fraserburgh gas explosion

A man who caused a gas blast on a Fraserburgh street – leaving a repair bill of almost £180,000 – has avoided a prison sentence.

Moray Road in Fraserburgh was rocked by the huge explosion which destroyed a home in March 2020.

Moray Road, Fraserburgh, was cordoned off following a gas explosion. Image: DC Thomson

Now, Jonathan Tait, 36, has been sentenced after being found guilty of culpable and reckless conduct following a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Tait stored a gas cylinder within his address on Moray Road without seeking permission to do so, and left the valve open, causing gas to escape and ignite.

Drug-dealing Aberdeen biker sent flying after crashing into police car

A drug-dealing biker was sent flying over his handlebars and the bonnet of a police car as officers tried to block his escape.

Max Tiidt caught the attention of police due to his motorbike not displaying a number plate, and as police began to tail him he mounted the pavement.

When a police car also mounted the pavement to block him off, the 19-year-old tried – and failed – to squeeze through a narrow gap and was catapulted from his vehicle.

A search then uncovered more than £8,000 of cannabis, which Tiidt later admitted dealing.

Woman pretended to be Hollywood actress to con family

A woman has admitted teaming up with her mother to con her family by pretending to be a Hollywood actress.

Heather Dunlop, 39, claimed to her loved ones that she had signed million-pound contracts with some of the biggest names in showbiz.

She and mum Ann Dunlop, 68, convinced her uncle David Bunton, 51, to hand Heather cash to help her make the breakthrough,

A court heard Heather was mingling with A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Beyonce as well as being managed by legendary US entertainment executive Irving Azoff.

£50,000 cocaine courier’s shiny bag caught the attention of police

A man was caught with almost £50,000 of cocaine after his shiny bag caught the attention of police officers.

Andrew Fraser was spotted pulling up beside another vehicle and then trying to hide the eye-catching toilet bag as he approached the car.

When he returned to the vehicle, parked in Eastfield Way car park in Inverness, officers moved in and made the high-value bust.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told that the cocaine weighed 246.72 grams and had a street value of £49,300.

Man jailed after £4,000 of cocaine found in parcel at sorting office

A drug dealer caught with an envelope of cash had a tracking number on his phone that led police to a parcel that contained £4,000 of cocaine.

Demetre Dobson appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted travelling up to the city to sell the Class A drug.

The package of cocaine was intercepted at Kittybrewster sorting office in Aberdeen.

The 22-year-old, who originally comes from Birmingham, has a previous conviction for the same offence for which he received an 18-month prison sentence last year.

Fiscal depute Jane Spark told the court that on March 29 this year, Dobson was stopped by police officers for a drugs search.

Driver handed points after police found him drunk in van

A driver was caught drunk in his broken down van on an A9 slip road, Tain Sheriff Court has heard.

Euan Buchan’s vehicle smelled of alcohol and he was confused with slurred speech.

His van was stopped half on a grass verge and half on a slip road, with no lights on and the handbrake down.

Buchan, 35, appeared at Tain Sheriff Court to admit a single charge of being drunk in charge of a vehicle on the A9 near to Hartfield Road, Tain, on April 1 of last year.

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Man accused of attacking dementia sufferer in her own home

A man has appeared in court after a grandmother in her late 80s was attacked and robbed in her own home.

The woman, who is a dementia sufferer, was left bruised and frightened following the incident, which took place on Saturday night at an address in the city’s Lang Stracht.

Darren Simpson appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of being in the pensioner’s home and of assaulting her.

The 42-year-old is charged with one count of assault and robbery and a second charge of housebreaking.

Teenage predator jailed for ‘traumatic’ sex attacks

A teenage predator who caused prolonged psychological trauma to his child victims has been jailed.

Richard Box, from Arbroath, raped a student and abused three underage girls, including one from Aberdeen, as part of a horrific course of conduct.

Richard Box has been jailed. Image: Facebook.

A judge ruled the 19-year-old’s disgusting behaviour escalated over 14 months at locations throughout Scotland.

Box showed no emotion as he was handed a nine-year extended sentence at the High Court in Dundee.

Pervert’s solo sex act while lurking in Aberdeen hotel doorway

A pervert was caught performing a solo sex act in an Aberdeen doorway while staring at strangers on not one, but two occasions.

Jonathan Diffey masturbated while lurking outside the Citi Hotel on Bath Street late at night.

The 47-year-old committed the sick offence twice in just over a month – coincidentally observed by the same victims, who were just there to buy food, both times.

Despite this, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told Diffey did not know the pair, a man and woman.

Liverpool drugs mule banned from Scotland

A 22-year-old drug mule has been banned from re-entering Scotland after he was caught in possession of Class A drugs worth more than £73,000.

Lewis Bayne appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted being concerned in the supply of large quantities of cocaine and heroin following a raid on a property in the Kincorth area of Aberdeen.

Lewis Bayne was caught with a large amount of both cocaine and heroin at an address in Kincorth. Image: Facebook/Google.

In the joint operation with Merseyside Police, officers found drugs stored openly around the property, with cocaine totalling more than £40,000 and heroin worth more than £32,000.

However, due to his young age, Bayne avoided a prison sentence but was banned from Scotland.

Stalker threatened to murder former partner – during police interview

A jealous stalker hounded his ex-partner for almost five years and dished out brazen murder threats during his police interview.

Nicholas Paterson bombarded the woman with calls, repeatedly turned up at her home uninvited and vowed to “bury” her and her new boyfriend.

The 29-year-old’s behaviour spanned from November 4 2018 right up until May 12 2023.

When he was finally arrested, far from being repentant, Paterson openly told police he would kill the woman.

Army man slapped pub-goer who ‘expressed understanding’ of PTSD

An army man slapped a fellow pub-goer after flying into a rage during a discussion about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cameron Stephen travelled up from Perth to Macduff to go drinking with a friend, but the night quickly descended into violence.

The 26-year-old had been talking to another customer at The Old Moray on Shore Street about being in the armed forces and mentioned PTSD.

But when the man “expressed understanding”, Stephen snapped back “you don’t understand” and lashed out, slapping the man several times to the face.

Get the latest crime and court stories delivered straight to your inbox

Every day our reporters are sitting in courtrooms around the area and now you can get their stories sent directly to you, five days a week.

Click here to find out how

Elgin man ordered to behave after dog custody row lands him in court

An Elgin man has been ordered to behave after a row with his ex-girlfriend about their dogs landed him in court.

Elgin Sheriff Court was told Steven Clark went to the woman’s house on October 6 this year and they spent the evening drinking.

The 36-year-old labourer had been in a relationship with his partner for three years but that night an argument broke out and Clark declared that the relationship was over.

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh said he gathered his belongings, along with the couple’s two dogs, and went to his mother’s house.

Men in court accused of seriously injuring OAP in carjacking

Two men have appeared in court accused of a violent Inverness carjacking that allegedly left a pensioner clinging to the bonnet of his vehicle.

It’s alleged Matthew Bell, 23, and Callum Ross, 18, dragged the 71-year-old from his van and tried to drive off with it, causing the man “severe injuries”.

They appeared in private at Inverness Sheriff Court, along with a 22-year-old woman, facing a string of charges.

The alleged incident happened around 9am on Tuesday, December 19, on Merlewood Road, near to the junction with Drummond Crescent.

Detectives felt effects of cocaine after Aberdeen dealer hurled block of powder and it burst

An Aberdeen drug dealer hurled a block of cocaine at detectives during a raid, leaving officers showered in white powder and feeling the effects.

Michael Beaton then punched one of the detectives in the face as they moved in to break up an operation dealing in cocaine and heroin and producing crack cocaine.

During the raid on the property at Waulkmill Crescent, in Aberdeen, police seized drugs worth more than £88,000 on the streets.

Advocate depute Colin Edward told the High Court in Edinburgh that police forced entry to the property.

Aberdeen City Council employee accused of embezzling more than £1 million

A man has appeared in court charged with embezzling more than £1 million from Aberdeen City Council.

Michael Paterson is alleged to have swindled the staggering seven-figure sum from the cash-strapped local authority over a number of years while an employee.

The 59-year-old – who is understood to have worked in the revenue and benefits department – appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court facing the single charge of embezzlement.

It comes as Aberdeen City Council’s controversial budget this year continues to make headlines.

Man caught with Winchester bullets forgot he had them

An Aberdeen man caught with a box of Winchester bullets had put them in a cupboard and forgotten all about them.

Marek Brzozowski admitted being in possession of the bullets, which a friend had left at his house, but didn’t realise it was an offence to keep them.

Marek Brzozowski has admitted possessing a box of bullets without a firearms licence. Image: Facebook.

While raiding the 43-year-old’s flat in July 2021 police officers discovered the live ammunition, which is capable of being fired from a rifle or handgun.

US gun and ammunition manufacturer Winchester is known for making the Model 92 Winchester carbine rifle that was used in several films featuring John Wayne, including True Grit.

Former soldier gets 11 years for raping women and sexually assaulting child

A former soldier who was commended for his “unwavering willingness” to support comrades in Afghanistan has been jailed for multiple sex assaults on women.

Cameron Gardner, 32, was given an 11-year term for 18 charges which included rape, sexual assault and the sexual assault of a child.

Cameron Gardner was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Dundee.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Gardner preyed on his victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in locations in Aberdeen and across the Banff and Buchan area.

He was convicted earlier this year after spending his trial at the High Court in Dundee denying the charges against him.

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