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Weekend court roll – an abusive cop and a cruel poisoner

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.

Mum and daughter in court after Staffie mauls toddler

An NHS nurse and her daughter have been banned from keeping dogs after a Staffy-cross in their care horrifically mauled a toddler, leaving her scarred for life.

Laura Simmers, 40, and Sarah Simmers, 19, admitted being in charge of a Staffordshire terrier cross called Benji when it attacked the 20-month-old girl at a family birthday party and another man less than two months later.

Sarah Simmers, left and Laura Simmers. Centre: the horrific injuries suffered by the child after the dog attack in Cove, Aberdeen.

In horrific scenes, the snarling dog pinned the toddler to the floor and mauled her face just 15 minutes after the family arrived at the get-together in the Cove area of Aberdeen.

The child – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was left with life-changing injuries and she may require plastic surgery when she grows up.

Drink-driver’s takeaway trip costs him £1,575 – and his licence

A drink-driver’s four-minute trip to buy some food ended up costing him more than £1,500 – and his licence.

Gary Stewart was more than five times the legal alcohol limit when police pulled him over on Marchburn Crescent after receiving an anonymous tip-off.

Now the 36-year-old, who has a previous conviction for being in charge of a vehicle while over the drink limit, has been hit with a lengthy driving ban.

Fiscal depute Andrew McMann told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened around 6pm on January 13.

Addict ‘preyed on’ by criminals so they could use flat to sell drugs

An Inverness man was “preyed on” and allowed his home to be used for supplying heroin, a court has heard.

Former drug addict Jan Lastovka was frightened of a man who turned up “out of the blue” and so turned a blind eye to the criminal enterprise.

The 45-year-old used the opportunity to feed his own habit, Inverness Sheriff Court was told.

Lastovka previously appeared in court and admitted the April 12 2022 offence, as well as possessing the Class A narcotic at his Waterloo Place flat.

Man in court following £200,000 Alness drugs seizure

A man has appeared in court after more than £200,000 of cocaine was seized in Easter Ross.

Liam Maiden, 30, appeared in private at Inverness Sheriff Court charged with being concerned with the supplying of a controlled drug.

Maiden, from Ross and Cromarty, made no plea to the single charge.

He was committed for further examination and released on bail until the next calling of the case.

Inverness rapist attacked vulnerable men to satisfy his sick desires

A “predatory” rapist who targeted vulnerable men and attacked them while they were incapacitated has been convicted at the High Court in Inverness.

Gavin Shand befriended his victims then took advantage of them for his own sexual gratification, telling one afterwards: “I know you wanted it”.

One man was sleeping at the time of his rape, while Shand injected the other with a drug that rendered him unconscious before sexually assaulting and raping him.

Shand, 45, was found guilty of one count of rape and one of sexual assault and rape at the High Court in Inverness.

Stab victim confessed to ‘banking’ heroin in hospital

A man was caught “banking” a bag of heroin in hospital in Aberdeen after getting stabbed in the leg.

Jamie Harrison confessed to having narcotics concealed internally when police came to speak to him at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Image: DC Thomson.

And the 23-year-old, as if to add insult to his leg injury, has now appeared in court and been fined for his antics.

Fiscal depute Andrew McMann told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “The accused was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on December 15 2022 due to being the victim of an assault and robbery at which time he sustained a stab wound to his leg.”

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Fearless Aberdeen gran sends masked home intruder packing

An Aberdeen granny was woken in the middle of the night by a masked man breaking into her house but challenged the intruder and sent him packing.

Brandon Phillips took a spade to the living room window of the woman’s home on Cairnwell Drive before clambering inside.

The 20-year-old not only woke up the occupant of the Mastrick address but also her neighbours, who looked on in shock as he climbed inside.

But the would-be thief quickly turned on his heels and fled as the fearless gran came downstairs and challenged him.

Man charged with sinking fishing boat Ocean Maid off Fraserburgh

A man has been charged with the sinking of a fishing boat which ran aground near Fraserburgh two years ago.

David Cooper did not appear at Peterhead Sheriff Court to hear the charge, which alleges he was responsible for the Ocean Maid striking rocks whilst it was travelling to Fraserburgh.

The Ocean Maid lies on rocks beside Cairnbulg Beacon. Image: Aberdeenshire Aerial Photography.

The four fishermen on board had to be rescued following the incident on October 24, 2022.

Aberdeen Coastguard was called to assist the Ayr-registered boat, the BA55 Ocean Maid, beside Cairnbulg Beacon just before 6am.

Former auxiliary nurse guilty of endangering child with ‘unnecessary’ operations

A jury in Aberdeen has convicted a former NHS worker of poisoning a young child with “industrial amounts” of medication and leaving him looking like “someone from Auschwitz”.

A jury took just over one hour to find Tracy Menhinick unanimously guilty of wilfully harming the boy, who was aged between three and six at the time.

Tracy Menhinick outside the High Court in Aberdeen, where she was found guilty of wilfully harming a child. Image: DC Thomson

The child cannot be named, but it is understood he has since recovered.

The trial, which lasted 19 days at the High Court in Aberdeen, heard 5,500 pages of evidence and medical records relating to the youngster and his failure to gain weight.

Moray ‘sexual deviant’ jailed for sex assaults on women

A “predatory” Moray businessman has been jailed for three and a half years for sex attacks on two women.

Michael Ramsay, 66, has shown “no remorse” for the attacks in which he sexually assaulted one woman by penetrating her with his fingers and sex toys and another by trying to remove her clothes and kiss her.

Michael Ramsay was jailed at Inverness Sheriff Court. File image: DC Thomson</p> <p>

The former Moray businessman had also been convicted of communicating indecently, relating to sexual comments he made and sexual messages he sent.

Ramsay appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing, having previously been found guilty of all charges by a jury. During the trial, he denied the crimes and claimed his contact with the women had been consensual.

Man jailed for baton attack on family friend in her own home

An Inverness man who used a telescopic baton to attack a “long-time family friend” in her own home has been jailed.

The woman had welcomed Jack Mackenzie, 23, into her house with a hug – but was left with a four-centimetre cut to the head after being attacked with the weapon.

Mackenzie also targeted his victim’s teenage son with a punch, after which the boy hit his head on a television set and was knocked unconscious.

Mackenzie appeared for sentencing at Inverness Sheriff Court having previously admitted two charges of assault to severe injury in relation to the incident at an address in Caledonian Road, Inverness, on May 12 of last year.

Man in court on weapon charge after Aberdeen Premier Inn incident

A man has appeared in court on a weapon charge after an incident at an  Aberdeen city centre hotel.

Police and paramedics were called to the Premier Inn on West North Street earlier this week after concerns were raised about a man.

Police crews outside the Premier Inn during the incident. Image: DC Thomson

A source said a 31-year-old man was removed from the hotel and no one was injured in the incident.

Richard Smith, from Aberdeen, has now appeared in the city’s sheriff court.

Barred pub punter lost fruit machine jackpot – and his freedom

A gambler lost out on an Aberdeen pub’s fruit machine jackpot after the manager realised he was barred and switched it off.

Ian Gray defied his longstanding ban from The Archibald Simpson on Union Street in a bid to win some cash from the Wetherspoons fruit machine.

Danny McKay
Ian Gray outside court. Image: DC Thomson

The 42-year-old’s plan was working and he was all set to cash out on the £100 jackpot – until the manager clocked him and asked him to leave, switching off the machine.

Gray, who was previously jailed for a near-identical incident at the same pub in 2019, “lost the plot” and punched the fruit machine before branding the manager a “nonce”.

Man admits injuring boy, 4, by crashing through Inverurie nursery window

A man has admitted seriously injuring a four-year-old boy after crashing his car through the window of a nursery in Inverurie.

One youngster was hurt and two others, also aged four, were hit by furniture when Alexander Cruden drove into the Stepping Stones Nursery on Blackhall Industrial Estate.

Police attended reports of a car crashing into a building at the Stepping Stones Nursery in Inverurie. Kami Thomson/DC Thomson
The scene at the Stepping Stones Nursery in Inverurie. Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Children were offered counselling after the incident, which happened around 9am on November 15 last year, and the facility had to temporarily close.

Now, Cruden, 63, has pled guilty to a charge of causing serious injury by careless driving over the episode.

Former Aberdeen restaurant boss accused of murdering police officer

A former Aberdeen restaurant boss has gone on trial accused of murdering a police officer in England.

Piran Ditta Khan was described as the mastermind of a Bradford armed robbery which saw police constable Sharon Beshenivsky shot dead.

Piran Ditta Khan is on trial accused of murdering Pc Sharon Beshenivsky. Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

As his murder trial began at Leeds Crown Court, prosecutors told a jury he evaded capture for almost 20 years before being extradited from Pakistan.

Pc Beshenivsky was killed on November 18 2005 as she and her colleague Pc Teresa Milburn responded to a report of a robbery at Universal Express travel agents in Morley Street, Bradford.

Man hit Tesco security guard in head with vodka bottle

An Aberdeen man has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after hitting a Tesco security guard in the head with a bottle of vodka.

Mark Cranston was challenged by the security guard in the store on Rousay Drive in Aberdeen before the encounter descended into violence.

The 25-year-old dropped a vodka bottle during the struggle before picking it up and swinging it against the guard’s head.

Fiscal depute Georgia Laird told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened around 5.15pm on September 22 2022.

Man put on register for sexually assaulting Aberdeen police officer

An Aberdeen man has been placed on the register after sexually assaulting a female police officer by kissing her hand.

Edgar Teniuch was “extremely drunk” when he took a shine to a female officer, who turned up to throw him out of McDonald’s on Union Street.

Edgar Teniuch. Image: DC Thomson

But the 37-year-old began behaving like a “drunken idiot” when he repeatedly tried to kiss her on the lips and did kiss her on the hand.

Now, Teniuch has been told by a sheriff he must address his “severe alcohol addiction”.

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Pair who carried out ‘broad daylight’ attack in Alness sentenced

A pair who launched a broad daylight attack on a man in Alness as he cowered from their blows have been sentenced.

Charlene Seel and Lewis Mackay crossed the road to assault their victim, who was drinking on a public bench in Alness’ High Street.

The man was punched and knocked to the ground, where he was further punched and kicked to his injury. His attackers then made off, but not before grabbing his jacket and beers as they left.

Mackay, 32, and Seel, 33, appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously admitted a charge of assault to injury with the complaint detailing how Mackay then committed the theft.

Danger driver jailed and hit with eight-year roads ban

A disqualified driver led police on a frightening pursuit through Aberdeen – and even reversed at their vehicle.

Robert Razey tired to strike the officers’ vehicle in the early hours of Hogmanay after spotting them behind him.

Robert Razey. Image: Facebook

The officers managed to manoeuvre their vehicle out of the way and then give chase.

They eventually caught up with the 29-year-old after a car and foot chase and he has now been put behind bars and hit with an eight-year driving ban.

Victim’s fury after Aberdeen policeman escapes punishment

The victim of an off-duty police officer who verbally and physically accosted her as she walked her dogs in woodland says she is “disgusted” by a sheriff’s decision to let him off without punishment.

Michael Tindal, 37, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards the terrified mum as walked through Cove Community Woodland with her dogs and baby in a pram.

Police officer Michael Tindal. Image: DC Thomson.

Tindal – who was initially charged with assaulting the woman by twisting her arm up her back – admitted a lesser charge of causing her alarm by shouting and placing his hand on her shoulder.

Sheriff Lesley Johnston admonished Tindal, of Cove Wynd, Cove Bay, which means it will be recorded as a conviction and will appear on his criminal record but he will receive no other penalty.

Man jailed for assaulting his partner and her pensioner mum

An Alness man who assaulted his girlfriend and her 79-year-old mother has been jailed at Tain Sheriff Court.

Ian Docherty initially assaulted his partner after an argument at her mother’s Alness home.

But when the pensioner tried to stop him he sent her “flying” across the room with a push.

Docherty, 44, appeared via videolink from custody at Tain Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously pled guilty to charges of assault and assault to injury against the mother and daughter respectively.

Man jailed after police seize more than £115,000 of cocaine

A man has been jailed for more than four years after police searched a car at a petrol station and found more than £115,000 of cocaine.

Steven Burns, 32, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine over a two-month period.

Police swooped on his vehicle after receiving intelligence that a white Fiat was being used in the sale of Class A drugs.

His solicitor conceded that Burns had been caught with a “substantial quantity” of cocaine.

Aberdeen rugby coach jailed over series of violent and sexual assaults

An Aberdeen rugby coach has been jailed after he carried series of “cowardly and terrifying” physical and sexual assaults on a woman.

Jack Tait appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted on one occasion attacking the woman as she slept, while on another holding a saw to her throat.

Jack Tait has been jailed after he admitted physical and sexual assaults upon a woman. Image: Facebook.

The 25-year-old also repeatedly punched, kicked and grabbed the woman by the neck while uttering derogatory remarks.

Describing Tait as a “big guy”, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis went through each individual assault inflicted on the woman by Tait over 10 months before concluding “there’s just too much of it”.

Kingussie residential home sex attacker fined £840

A man who sexually assaulted a woman in a Kingussie residential home has been placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that previous sex offender David Duncan was cooperating with a community payback order for an earlier offence when he met the woman at Glebe Court.

David Duncan admitted sexual assault at Inverness Sheriff Court. Image DC Thomson

Fiscal depute Grant Mclennan previously told the court that on the day of the sexual assault, the woman – who was not a resident or member of staff – met Duncan outside the facility and had shared a “friendly discussion” with him.

Later that evening Duncan knocked on the room door where the woman was staying and was invited in.

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