Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north and north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases – from the despicable beggar who stole from an autistic man to the latest twist in one of Scotland’s longest-running mysteries.
On Monday, a man who wrestled a female police officer to the ground and attempted to kiss her was sentenced to more than 200 hours of unpaid work.
Craig Scott, 46, was brought to the attention of police by Bucksburn residents on April 14 last year after they saw him wandering the streets shouting and swearing and claiming the world was about to end.
When cops appeared at his home to quiz him, Scott bolted out the back door where he was met by a female officer – who he then forced to the ground before attempting the kiss her.
Predator caught by secret camera
A sex predator was snared after his ex-partner rigged up a camera to catch him preying on a teenage girl.
Gerard Haggerty abused the child including raping her when she was just 12.
The 61-year-old’s former partner had “suspicions” about Haggerty and the girl.
Along with her son, the woman helped set up a camera in the home in Elgin she still shared with her ex-partner of 30 years.
Slippery hands caused three-car crash
On Tuesday, a driver with an “obsession” for hand sanitiser crashed and wrote off three cars when his slippery hands slid off the steering wheel.
Jamie Den Boer had been driving along Westburn Road in Aberdeen at 5am when he lost control of his red Audi.
The 38-year-old, who Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard had become “somewhat obsessed” with hand sanitiser, had applied hand gel behind the wheel, causing him to lose grip and crash into a parked Mercedes.
Thug back in court after punching man
A thug has been jailed after he punched a man during a row about children playing football outside his girlfriend’s home.
Levi Harrison claimed the attack was sparked when kids began hitting his partner’s “windows and walls” with their football in Aberdeen’s Hilton on November 3 2020.
The heated argument turned violent when the 22-year old attempted to strike a female neighbour – but ultimately punched a man who stepped in between them.
Sex case teacher appealing sentence
A sheriff who jailed a teacher for engaging in sex acts with two girls ‘erred’ when he decided to send the man to jail, a court on Wednesday heard.
Lawyer Ann Ogg said that Sheriff Philip Mann failed to properly consider Kieran Malcolmson’s personal circumstances when he decided to jail him for 15 months.
The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday how Malcomson, 36, should have been given a non-custodial sentence.
Wild camper’s fury at farmer
A wild camper who allowed a dog off the lead on farmland then threatened to shoot the farmer’s husband when challenged has appeared in court.
Stephen Burnside, 40, was confronted by the farmer after a member of the public spotted a fire burning on the land at Achnabat south of Inverness.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told the woman found Burnside and others wild camping on her land and challenged them over their behaviour.
Man threatened to burn down mum’s house
A man has admitted threatening to burn his mum’s house down after she refused to let him into the property.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Kieran Towler, 26, attempted to intimidate his mother into letting him into her home when he arrived at her door in Danestone.
The 26-year old had warned his mum that if she called the police he would “burn the house down before they get here”.
Drink driver went wrong way down dual carriageway
A man has been banned from the roads for driving down the wrong side of a dual carriageway after a “few whiskies”.
Gozhenko, 61, was more than three times the drink-drive limit when he got behind the wheel in Aberdeen on the evening of June 4 last year.
He was spotted by other drivers on the wrong side of both the A96 Great Northern Road and nearby Barron Street before concerned staff at a local supermarket reported him to police.
Perv sentenced for sick chats with ‘child’
A pervert who asked what he believed was an underage girl if she would meet him for sex has avoided being sent to jail.
Aaron McIntyre was caught in August 2020 while messaging a fake Facebook account created by an adult member of a paedophile hunter group.
He was seen to repeatedly ask the ‘girl’ – who he believed was just 15 – to engage in sexual activity and send him pictures of herself.
Beggar targeted autistic man and stole £150
A predatory street beggar has admitted leading an autistic man to a cash machine and stealing £150.
Julie Hayworth followed the man after he kindly gave her 50p and convinced him to go to a nearby cash machine on Union Street.
But after he’d entered his pin code Hayworth took over the keypad and withdrew £150 before sprinting off.
Drug dealer caught red-handed
A man caught with £600 of heroin and more than £2,000 in cash told cops: “It’s all mine, got to make money.”
Dean Gemmel was spotted by police officers running from one vehicle into the passenger seat of another.
And when officers approached, they found the 20-year-old “shaking and pale” and detained him for a search.
Drink driver: ‘I need to take responsibility for my actions’
A repeat drink-driver has been fined nearly £2,000 and banned for four years after crashing his car while close to four times the booze limit.
Mark Carson had been drinking throughout the day celebrating a relative’s birthday, but decided to drive to the shops to buy cigarettes.
The 37-year-old crashed his black Vauxhall Mokka on Provost Fraser Drive on February 27 and was seen initially trying to drive on before getting out and stumbling away.
Covid clean-up cost shop £15,000 in takings
A charity box thief who claimed he had Covid-19 was responsible for more than £15,000 in lost takings when the shop he raided had to be closed for deep cleaning.
Shaun Mackenzie, 44, cut himself as he smashed his way into the Co-op store on Telford Street, Inverness, and made off with alcohol, cigarettes and charity boxes.
He was caught after being spotted wandering up the street carrying a shopping basket filled with his bloodstained bounty.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told when he got taken to Raigmore Hospital to have his cuts treated he answered ‘no’ to all coronavirus screening questions.
Renee murder accused may not be fit to stand trial
A pensioner accused of murdering Inverness mum Renee MacRae and her son Andrew has been assessed by a doctor to see if he is well enough to stand trial.
William MacDowell, 79, is accused of killing Renee and the three-year-old before allegedly dumping their bodies.
The crimes are said to have occurred on the Dalmagarry lay-by at the A9 trunk road – 11 miles from Inverness – and elsewhere on November 12 1976.
Man threatened to eat folk queuing for bus
A north man who threatened to eat three people queuing for a bus has been given a chance by a sheriff to comply with a community order.
John Stewart, 35, carried out the offence at Nairn bus station on Christmas Eve in 2019.
Stewart appeared for sentencing at Inverness Sheriff Court on Friday where he was handed a community payback order and told if he didn’t comply he would be jailed.
Nightclub sex attacker has PTSD
A violent nightclub sex attacker has avoided being locked up after the court was told he suffers post-traumatic stress following a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Daniel Rougvie, 33, grabbed a woman’s bottom on the dancefloor of Prohibition nightclub before savagely beating her boyfriend and attacking police – telling one officer “I want to bite your throat”.
He also admitted being in possession of knuckledusters, threatening police and of resisting arrest.