A senior lawyer’s career was in tatters last night after he was found guilty of sending online messages threatening to deport a beautician for leaving his husband’s salon.
David Wilkie-Thorburn, an assistant procurator fiscal in charge of prosecuting criminals across the north-east, sent a string of threats to Veda Rodrigues.
He sent the communication in the early hours of Sunday, April 7, amid concerns about a staff walkout at the beauty salon run by his husband, Neil Wilkie-Thorburn.
Ms Rodrigues had been renting space in the premises, but had told him she would be moving to another business next door – along with two other workers.
The following day she noticed she had received a message from the lawyer, which had been sent at 1.22am.
Wilkie- Thorburn told the 38-year-old mother-of-four, who is from India, he was the “head of prosecution in Grampian” and that he was “responsible for making prosecution decisions on immigration cases”.
The distraught victim believed he had the power to remove her from the country – and separate her from her children.
The 52-year-old’s trial concluded at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday, where Sheriff Ian Duguid found him guilty of sending a message “of a menacing character”.
His defence solicitor, David Moggach, said the conviction would be “life-changing” after the verdict was delivered.
Mr Moggach added: “This is a hugely traumatic conviction and a serious one for him.
“He is going to lose a well-respected job which provides him with a good income – it’s as serious as that.
“That is the consequence that will befall him.”
Fiscal Laura Mundell said Wilkie-Thorburn had “exaggerated” the responsibilities of his role when he sent the threats.
Mrs Rodrigues last night told the Press and Journal that she spent months feeling “sick with worry” about the threat of deportation.
She said: “My family and I have gone through hell because of this.
“This has affected me as a mother – I have four children and in those months I felt sick with worry.
“I could not be there for them and they were scared, they didn’t really understand what was going on.
“I’m not from this country, I don’t know how these things work.
“I was shattered, I thought I was going to be sent back to my country and separated from my children.
“He got what he deserved and he should lose his job for abusing his power.
“I hope this is an example to whoever does this because he has got what he deserves.”
Sheriff Duguid deferred sentencing until January.