Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north and north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases – from the student who threatened horrific violence on his ex to the high-flying oil worker whose life crumbled when he tried heroin at the age of 47.
Student threatened to behead ex-girlfriend
On Monday we reported the disturbing story of an Aberdeen student who stalked his ex-girlfriend and threatened to behead her.
Alexandre Mboue waged a campaign of terror against the woman following the break-up of their relationship last year by turning up at her home and sending her menacing social media messages.
The 26-year-old admitted frightening his ex-partner in March by repeatedly turning up at her home on Dunbar Street in Aberdeen and leaving unwanted gifts.
Man thrown in cells for facemask positioning
A man has been found in contempt of court after “deliberately ignoring” a sheriff’s request for him to wear his facemask properly.
Matthew Ritchie had only been in the dock for a matter of minutes when he sparked the ire of Sheriff Annella Cowan and was thrown in the cells.
He was appearing at Peterhead Sheriff Court to tender not guilty pleas to charges of assault and resisting arrest but it was his poor facemask placement that landed him in trouble.
The 28-year-old was wearing a mask over his mouth but not his nose – prompting Sheriff Cowan to request it be worn over properly while in her court.
He briefly corrected his mask to cover his nose, but as he left the dock he defiantly pulled it down again.
Drink driver’s Range Rover seized
In the same court, a drink-driver who was six times the limit behind the wheel was heavily fined and had his £60,000 Range Rover seized.
Ross Strachan was disqualified from driving for 18 months but will also have to continue paying off the finance on his car – estimated to be tens of thousands of pounds.
After looking at finance documents for the private-plated car, Sheriff Annella Cowan said: “It’s going to be some penalty.”
Sex assault pensioner downplays attack
A pensioner who groped a young girl does not view the assault as “sexual”, a court has been told.
Gordon Hayward appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after he admitted touching the girl underneath her clothing at a court date in July this year.
The 73-year-old, who resides in Glasgow, has been banned from entering the city of Aberdeen, other than for court, while the sentence was deferred for background reports.
Drink driver drove 66-miles on three tyres
A driver who drove 66 miles from Dundee to Aberdeen with a ‘disintegrated’ tyre was so drunk he has no memory of it.
Stephen Barr was spotted swerving across the lanes of the A90 by a number of road users on the morning of December 21 2019 – with one driver witnessing the 35-year-old’s rental car crash into the central reservation.
An ambulance crew on a 999 call also witnessed Barr’s crazy driving and tried to signal to him that his tyre had “disintegrated” and he was driving on the metal wheel rim.
Man accused of failed shop raid
A man has appeared in court charged with attempted robbery after a failed shop raid in Garthdee.
James Townsley, 21, made no plea when he appeared before Aberdeen Sheriff Court over the incident, which took place at Gaitside Stores, on Gaitside Drive, Aberdeen.
The alleged crime happened just before 8pm on September 20.
Offshore worker sent sexual messages to paedophile hunters
An offshore worker who was caught sending sexual messages to what he thought were 13 and 14-year-old girls has avoided a prison sentence.
Dad-of-two Steven Fraser, 46, was snared by paedophile hunters pretending to be girls on the online chat applications ChatHour and Kik between November 9 2019 and January 26 2020.
He sent numerous sexual messages and pictures despite knowing what age the decoys were.
Boss fined after worker’s horror fall
On Tuesday, a building company boss was fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a roof and fractured his skull.
Wick Sheriff Court was told the employee’s life has “irrevocably changed” and he has been left unable to work and suffers memory loss.
William Swanson, who traded as LTS Construction at the time of the incident at Wester Olrig Farm, Thurso, has now pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules.
Highland League footballer’s drink drive shame
A Highland League footballer has been shown the red card by a sheriff and banned from the roads for a year after police were tipped off about his drink driving.
Fort William striker Scott Graham was more than three times the limit when cops stopped his car yesterday.
Appearing from custody at Inverness Sheriff Court, the footballer pleaded guilty to driving with 79mcgs of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 22mcg.
The court heard that police staged a look-out for the 34-year-old, who previously featured for Clachnacuddin, Brora Rangers, Nairn County, Strathspey Thistle, Buckie Thistle and Forres Mechanics, after an anonymous tip-off.
Woman forced pal to strip naked
A woman who forced a friend to strip naked in front of her to prove she hadn’t stolen drugs has been handed a 30-day prison sentence.
Sarah Webster admitted the bizarre behaviour and was sentenced to an extra month in HMP Grampian, where she is currently serving a 13-month sentence.
Webster told her friend she would “rip her clothes off and batter her” unless she proved, twice, that she hadn’t stolen her crack cocaine and hidden it inside her.
Man has sex with 13-year-old boy in layby
A predator has been jailed for having sex with a 13-year-old boy he met on Instagram.
Ian Tait, 31, chatted to the child online on Instagram and Snapchat, requesting sexually explicit images of him.
And before long Tait, driving him to locations in Aberdeenshire and requesting oral sex.
Humming noise gave away man’s cannabis plants
A man’s cannabis cultivation was discovered by police investigating a humming noise and sound of running water coming from his flat.
Kyle Bullamore, 24, fled the scene through a window when cops came calling at his address on Sandilands Drive in Aberdeen.
Officers had been conducting door-to-door enquiries in the area in relation to another matter when a member of the public approached them over the noises.
Man had sick pic of young boy
A pervert has been handed a supervision order after being caught with sickening child pornography involving a boy aged between 2 and 4.
Paul Gibson was caught when police executed a search warrant at his home on Cameron Road in Aberdeen in December.
The 26-year-old was traced in his bedroom and his phone was seized and analysed by cybercrime unit officers, with a “relevant” image discovered in a preview examination.
Repeat drink driver struck cyclist
A repeat drink driver has been banned from the roads after he knocked down a cyclist on her way to work.
Mariusz Kluj, 38, appeared in the dock charged with being more than two times the drink-drive limit when he hit the cyclist in Aberdeen on August 19 this year.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Kluj got behind the wheel of his van in the early hours of the morning after drinking the previous evening.
Man whipped friend with fishing rod
On Wednesday, a thug whipped his pal with a fishing rod and kicked him so hard he almost had to have his spleen removed after they fell out over £40.
David Dalgarno turned up at his friend’s Torry flat in the early hours of the morning shouting that he owed him £40, but when the man denied it Dalgarno turned violent.
The 30-yea-old smashed a glass vase across his victim’s face, before grabbing a fishing rod and whipping him with it.
Man sexually assaulted dementia sufferer
A predatory pensioner who sexually assaulted a dementia sufferer has claimed the attack wasn’t “motivated by desire”.
Raymond Collie, 73, touched the woman – who is in her 80s – during visits to her home and was caught when her horrified son watched footage from a CCTV camera.
The disturbing images captured Collie kneeling next to his victim and sexually groping her breast.
Snapchat bounty placed on ex-girlfriend’s head
A man posted a video on Snapchat offering a £100 reward for anyone who would beat up his ex-girlfriend.
Logan Wilson, 21, said he wanted someone to “batter” the woman, claiming she had recently cleared out his bank account.
He told his social media audience that the ex stole just under £400 and he wanted to give her a fright.
More time in jail for disqualified driver
A man who has served four prison sentences for driving while disqualified was back behind bars today after being convicted of the crime for the SIXTH time.
Police received a tip-off that Michael Manson was behind the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery on a country track near Dingwall.
When officers went to intercept the vehicle, it was travelling at high speed and when it eventually stopped the 25-year-old joiner fled the scene.
Jail warning for badger baiter
A man whose dog was seriously injured while badger baiting has been warned he has “one foot in jail” as it emerged he is not accepting responsibility for his crime.
Liam Taylor’s male Bull Lurcher, called Brock, had his nostril partly ripped off, lost teeth and suffered facial and paw injuries during the illegal and cruel hunt.
The 32-year-old was caught after graphics showing the dog’s injuries, as well as “trophy photos” of him hunting using the dog, were ordered online and the concerned business owner reported the suspected abuse.
Officers from the Scottish SPCA animal welfare charity found the injured dog at Taylor’s home in Deyhill, Macduff, suffering from injuries consistent with “pig digging”, the term often used for badger baiting.
Man who ransacked hairdresser jailed
A lout who broke into and ransacked a city centre hairdresser has been jailed after repeatedly breaching a curfew.
Colin West was previously handed a curfew by Sheriff Philip Mann after admitting breaking into Demilo on Little Belmont Street and stealing an iPhone and a pair of scissors between October 23 and 24 last year.
He also admitted breaking into Bramble Brae Primary School and stealing a bank card and money on June 9 2020, and breaking into Orchard Brae Primary School and stealing a key on August 4 2020.
The 52-year-old was handed a 12-month restriction of liberty order to remain within his home address between set times, but has now appeared back in court, where he admitted repeatedly breaching the order.
Repeat offender found with indecent images
A man who downloaded indecent images of children just one week after being placed on the Sex Offenders Register has been spared jail.
Repeat offender Paul Dodds was ordered he must make any digital device capable of accessing the internet available for inspection when he was placed on the register in February 2020.
But when police checked his search history and storage just one week later they found he had once again been accessing explicit images.
The 37-year-old’s tablet’s history threw up searches for pregnancy porn and rape porn, while images of his phone showed 26 indecent pictures of a partially-unclothed teenage girl, thought to be aged between 13 and 16.
Former lorry driver raped girls
On Thursday, a married pervert who raped two young girls as they slept over at his house appeared in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.
Joseph Holmes, 64, pounced on the victims at the property in Rattray, Aberdeenshire, between January 1999 and December 2020.
The former lorry driver also sexually assaulted two further girls at the same time and place, including in his attic.
The offences only came to light when one of the rape victims handed her mum a note of what happened, which sparked a full investigation with more victims coming forward.
Gambling addict scammed his own family
A man has admitted scamming his family and a childhood friend out of nearly £18,000 to feed his “crippling gambling habit”.
Christopher Forbes, 29, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court facing charges that he had taken advantage of his close relationships to commit fraud between February 2018 and June 2019.
In one instance, Forbes convinced a pal to give him an initial loan that he managed to increase to just over £14,000 through deception.
Refund refusal sparked B&Q attacks
A disgruntled customer who attacked two DIY store workers after he was refused a refund on a garden plant must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
Christopher Mackenzie appeared for sentencing at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday having previously pled guilty to charges of assault and threatening or abusive behaviour.
The court heard that on June 23 last year Mackenzie went to B&Q in Inverness and attempted to return a plant.
Man denies exposing himself at traffic lights
A 59-year-old man is to face trial after denying a charge of indecently exposing himself at a set of Aberdeen traffic lights.
Robert Jones appeared from custody at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he denied a charge of intentionally exposing his private parts to a shocked woman on Dyce Drive.
The 59-year-old, who gave his home address as Lancashire, was arrested after a woman reported she had been flashed at a set of traffic lights in the Argyll Road area on Tuesday.
Train tracks trespasser hunted
Trains to and from Aberdeen were halted and a major search was launched after a drunk 20-year-old went walkabout on a railway line.
Shea McGarrell was spotted wandering up an embankment towards the tracks in Portlethen on May 18, sparking concerns.
Police officers, sniffer dogs and fire crews spent almost two hours scouring the area for him before he was found safe and well.
Hand saw attacker
A thug has been jailed for more than five years after a crime spree that included attacking a have-a-go hero with a hand saw.
A woman spotted Arran Baird taking items from her son’s car at Banavie Court, Ellon, and when her partner rushed outside to challenge him, Baird became aggressive and violent.
The man restrained Baird, 37, but in the struggle Baird lashed out with a hand saw, leaving his victim with cuts to his neck, chest and stomach.
Oil worker’s descent into drugs hell
On Friday, a former oil worker whose life fell apart after trying heroin for the first time aged 47 was jailed for allowing his home to be used to stash £56,000 of Class A drugs.
John Pow’s “extremely comfortable” world crumbled a decade ago when his dad died and he turned to drugs to “numb the pain”, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.
The court heard how organised crime gangs took advantage of the 57-year-old grandad’s age and background and used him to deliver and stash large quantities of drugs.
£34,000 gadget heist
A man has been jailed for his part in a daring £34,000 raid at a north-east electronics superstore.
Ioan Chitic was one of the masked gang who travelled all the way from Birmingham to break into Elgin’s Currys PC World on the morning of September 25 2019.
They used a circular saw to cut through metal security fences and cladding then broke through a brick wall with a crowbar before filling their bags with gadgets and making their getaway south in at least two vehicles.
Thug warned he could be locked up
A young man has been told his violent behaviour could “affect his whole future” after he admitted attacking his girlfriend and two of her friends as they made their way home from the pub.
Samuel Milne, 20, turned on the group following a night out at Murdo’s Bar in Aberdeen – attacking all three at separate points as they tried to intervene to help each other.
When police turned up they found Milne with a male friend in a headlock on North Anderson Drive.
First date ends in violence
A couple’s first date ended on a violent note when the man battered the woman’s parents following a row over the Mayweather vs McGregor boxing match.
Zachary Grey smashed a picture frame over the stepdad’s head, before launching a frenzied attack with an ornament, kicks and punches.
had gone home with his date when her stepdad threw a snake at him as an “icebreaker” before the pair rowed over the high-profile boxing match and Grey became violent.
The 25-year-old also rained punches down on his date’s mother as she tried to intervene.
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