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Weekend court roll – a drink-driving teacher and a horrific bus attack

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.

Vodka-swigging van thief ploughed into police car in Stonehaven

A sheriff has told a vodka-swigging thief who stole a window cleaner’s van and then crashed into a police car that he managed “almost a full house” of traffic offences in one go.

Billy Fraser nabbed the van on Stell Road in Aberdeen while the window cleaners were hard at work nearby.

Billy Fraser appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Image: Facebook

The 21-year-old got as far as Stonehaven before police caught up with him and tried to block him off.

But Fraser ploughed into the officers’ car, luckily not injuring anybody, before being found stinking of alcohol with a half-empty vodka bottle in the footwell.

Lorry driver admits causing the death of 74-year-old man on A90

A lorry driver has admitted causing the death of a retired oil and gas worker who crashed into the back of his HGV on the way home from a family funeral.

Stephen Brennand, 60, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted pulling into the central reservation of the A90 near Tipperty in order to turn around, but left the back end of his lorry protruding into the fast lane.

Travelling southbound, Alistair Arthur’s Volkswagen Sirroco struck the lorry, killing the 74-year-old and injuring his two female passengers.

The roof of Mr Arthur’s car became detached from the rest of the vehicle during the collision.

Drink-driving headteacher handed ‘significant’ road ban

A drink-driving Aberdeen headmistress has refused to apologise for the bad example she set to her pupils as she was handed a “significant” road ban and fine.

Anna Royle, headteacher of Greenbrae Primary School in Bridge of Don, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing today after she was convicted of smashing her Audi Q2 into another car before fleeing the scene.

Anna Royle was allowed to leave Aberdeen Sheriff Court by a rear door which had been opened by her own solicitor. Image: DC Thomson.

The 45-year-old headmistress was soon after located by police in a lane nearby while holding her dog in her arms.

She was tested and found to be nearly five times the drink-drive limit.

Man in court after pensioner suffers serious wounds

A man has appeared in court charged in connection with a serious assault on a pensioner in Aberdeen city centre.

The 75-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries in the incident near Union Street’s Miller & Carter restaurant on Saturday afternoon.

Police swooped on the area around Broad Street following the alleged attack around at 2.55pm.

Paul Milne, 45, has now appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of a number of offences.

Two men in court after ‘traumatic’ knife fight near Aberdeen school

Two men have appeared in court after a “distressing” disturbance involving a knife near St Machar Academy in Aberdeen last week.

A huge police presence descended on the area last Friday morning after an alleged fight erupted outside the Premier store on the city’s Bedford Avenue around 10.45am.

Police car outside St Machar Academy
Police outside St Machar Academy on Friday. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.

Police Scotland, which later charged two men, described their arrests at the time as “in connection with assault”.

On Monday, Luke James, 27, and 18-year-old Thomas O’Brien – both of Aberdeen – appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Man found with 100 indecent images

A Newburgh man found with indecent images and videos of children on his mobile phone told police he hadn’t been “purposefully” seeking them out.

Jayme Williams, 30, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted being in possession of 100 pornographic images – some of which featured children as young as two years old.

As officers searched Williams’ property and seized his devices, they found indecent videos on his phone that included footage of young girls.

The videos found on Williams’ phone were of the most serious category.

Teacher accused of taping child’s mouth shut at Highland primary

A teacher is set to stand trial over allegations of assault and attempted assault against three children at a primary school in the Highlands.

Joyce Kullas allegedly put sticky tape on the mouth of one child and tried to do it to another.

The 63-year-old also denies a charge that she assaulted a third child by seizing them by the body and pulling them along the ground while the child was holding onto a table leg.

The charges relate to alleged incidents involving three primary school pupils, which are said to have taken place in 2022.

Peterhead prisoner threatened to kill ex in chilling phonecalls from jail

A prisoner in Peterhead has been handed an extra two months behind bars after phoning his ex and threatening to murder both her and her new boyfriend.

In a series of chilling tirades – which the woman recorded – Tony Vogt threatened to behead them in front of his nine-year-old child and burn them in their sleep.

Tony Vogt, pictured in 2016, appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court.

The 28-year-old also told the woman he would dump their bodies in a wheelie bin, adding: “This is murder territory.”

Vogt appeared from custody at Peterhead Sheriff Court and admitted making their threats on November 13 last year.

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Inverness woman kept £17,000 of cocaine and heroin as ‘collateral’

A woman who feared her family were going to be murdered by Liverpool drug dealers was caught with more than £17,000 of Class A drugs at a restaurant in Aviemore.

Stephanie Lewicki told police the cocaine and heroin she was holding were “collateral” so the gang would not kill her relatives, Inverness Sheriff Court heard.

Inverness sheriff court and Stephanie Lewicki, who had cocaine and heroin
Stephanie Lewicki appeared in Inverness Sheriff Court. Image: Facebook

Fiscal depute Pauline Gair said Lewicki – who admitted possession of 250g of cocaine and 2.18g of heroin – got a taxi from Inverness to Aviemore and was then traced by police to a restaurant on the evening of May 15 2022.

Mrs Gair said: “A taxi picked her up in Tomatin Road and she put a holdall in the boot.”

Van driver caught on AWPR without insurance gets six-month ban

A bathroom fitter has been banned from driving after being caught on the AWPR with only a provisional licence and no insurance.

John Millar admitted two charges of driving without ‘L’ plates and no insurance on July 21 last year.

John Millar was caught driving on AWPR without insurance. Image: DC Thomson

The 61-year-old, who the court heard has a long list of driving offences, was fined £640 and banned for six months when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The court was told he was driving the white Vauxhall Vivaro works van because his colleague had hurt his back.

Drunk teen abused takeaway staff and called them ‘immigrants’

A drunk teenager abused staff at a city centre takeaway and told them they were “immigrants” who “shouldn’t be working here”.

Katie MacPhee had been refused service by the workers at Max’s 2 in Lombard Street, Inverness, before the incident began.

She threw a bottle of water at one worker and slapped the other before police arrived and detained her.

MacPhee, 19, appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court to admit a single charge of abusive behaviour toward the retail workers on July 26 of last year.

Oil worker who sexually assaulted child in her own bed has prison ‘bounty’ on his head

An oil worker has been jailed for 30 months after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl as she slept in her bed.

Darren Rutherford was convicted of assaulting the teen following a two-day trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court earlier this year.

Darren Rutherford was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in her bedroom. Image: DC Thomson.

The jury took just over an hour to find Rutherford unanimously guilty of one charge of sexual assault, which included penetrative sexual assault, at an address in Aberdeen in 2022.

The 44-year-old had denied the sickening attack – which the court heard has changed how the teen “lives her life” – and still maintains his innocence.

Banchory farmer who sexually assaulted female workers still blames his victims

A Banchory farmer has avoided jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two female members of staff.

Colin Blackhall, 71, was convicted on several sexual offence charges which happened at his farm, TLC Potatoes Ltd, over a 12-year period.

Colin Blackhall appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing.

He still maintains his innocence and blames the victims, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told today.

Sheriff Lesley Johnston heard the evidence and found Blackhall guilty of three charges of sexual assault against his workers.

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Caithness dentist disqualified after being caught drug-driving

An NHS dentist from Caithness has been banned from the roads after being caught drug-driving.

Police stopped John Rautenbach’s Silver Mercedes on the A9 at Brora for routine checks.

John Rautenbach admitted drug-driving at Tain Sheriff Court. Image: LinkedIn / DC Thomson

But when they smelled cannabis they carried out a roadside test that proved positive for the class B drug.

Rautenbach appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court to plead guilty to a single drug-driving charge.

Aberdeen offender jailed after completing only one hour of community service in 18 months

An Aberdeen man has been jailed for 13 months after he admitted carrying out only one hour of his court-ordered community service.

Andrew Wills, 31, appeared in Aberdeen Sheriff Court admitting the breach for offences he committed three years ago.

Andrew Wills pictured leaving court in 2022. Image: DC Thomson

Wills was convicted in 2022 of threatening and abusive behaviour whilst resisting arrest and uttering homophobic remarks at officers and repeatedly spitting at them.

Sheriff Graham Buchan said it appeared Wills had gone along to the “cosy chat” with social workers but had no intention of doing the “hard graft of unpaid work”.

Careless driver killed mother of man who died in shooting on Skye

A careless driver who caused a crash that killed the mother of a man killed in a shooting on Skye has been spared jail.

Colin Grant’s hire car crossed the centre line of the A87 between Balmacara and Kyle of Lochalsh, colliding head-on with the vehicle Valerie MacKinnon, 73, was travelling in on August 22 2021.

Colin Grant, right, pled guilty to killing Valerie MacKinnon in a crash near Kyle of Lochalsh. Image: Police Scotland/LinkedIn

Mrs MacKinnon – mother of John MacKinnon, who was allegedly murdered the following year – was airlifted from Broadford Hospital to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Clock repairer Grant appeared for sentencing at Inverness Sheriff Court having admitted causing death by careless driving at a hearing in January of this year.

Cruel and predatory Inverness rapist locked up for eight years

A sex attacker who raped two vulnerable men was jailed for eight years today after a judge branded him “a cruel and cynical sexual predator”.

Gavin Shand attacked his first victim at a house in Inverness after the man fell asleep before telling him when he awoke: “I know you wanted it”.

Shand, 45, carried out a second sex assault on another man in a tent on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow while the victim was under the influence of heroin.

A judge told Shand at the High Court in Edinburgh: “The circumstances of this case have amply demonstrated that you are a cruel and cynical sexual predator”.

Drugged up man’s unsatisfactory excuse for why he was clambering on roofs in Inverness

A sheriff has doubted a Ross-shire man’s bizarre explanation for why he was found clambering across roofs in Inverness.

Alan Munro says he was on a couple’s shed because he “felt safe” after threats from others at his accommodation.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that occupants of a house on Tomatin Road in the city’s Hilton housing estate alerted police when they saw Munro, 50, on their property on the night of February 19 2022.

His antics were captured on the property’s CCTV camera and at one stage Munro became stuck before managing to clamber down.

Aberdeen bus driver found guilty of deliberately driving over OAP

An Aberdeen bus driver has been convicted of deliberately driving over an elderly passenger who later had to have his leg amputated.

Allan Thomson, a former driver for First Bus, was found unanimously guilty following a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court of assaulting 74-year-old Michael McFadyen and dragging him off his bus before driving over him as he lay helpless in the road.

Michael McFadyen, left, and bus driver Allan Thomson. Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Image: DC Thomson / Flickr.

Those who first arrived on the scene described seeing “flesh and blood” on the tarmac and the pensioner’s leg looking like “shredded material”.

Mr McFadyen was rushed to hospital where doctors were unable to save his leg, which ultimately had to be amputated.

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