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Danger driver who fled scene of crash offered support to try to turn his life around

Craig Neill appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court.
Craig Neill appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court.

A north-east dad sentenced for a long list of charges has been spared jail and offered support to turn his life around for the sake of his children.

Craig Neill sped down the wrong side of Peterhead’s Dingwall Drive and repeatedly swerved between carriageways before crashing his car into two others last August.

Nearby residents saw him trying to drive away from the scene before realising his car was too badly damaged.

When one witness began recording the aftermath on their phone he shouted abuse and swore at the crowd before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot.

Police caught up with him, though, and he was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no licence or insurance, failing to stop after an accident and breach of the peace.

Just two days later he had another run-in with the law when officers were called to the town’s Stewart Crescent, where he had was found to have shouted, swore and made threats to his partner while clutching a can of petrol.

The driving offences, though, span back as far as January 2020, when he was found on Peterhead’s Ugie Road, again without a licence or insurance, but with a tapered piece of wood – which officers deemed an offensive weapon.

And in June 2020 he drove a van on Fraserburgh’s Watermill Road with no insurance.

‘Said he was going to smash up the house’

Three weeks ago he was taken into custody after a drunken argument at his partner’s home in Peterhead.

Depute fiscal Ruaridh McAllister said: “He was saying derogatory things. He called her a tramp and said he was going to smash the house up.

“He threw glasses against the wall and kicked the television from the table it was standing on and stamped on it on the floor.”

He appeared from custody at Peterhead Sheriff Court where he admitted the drunken and destructive rampage and faced sentencing for the driving offences, too.

Defence agent Sam Milligan said Neill had reached a “late dawning of maturity” and was ready to turn his life around.

“It would be churlish to suggest he doesn’t have a significant record,” Mr Milligan added.

“However, there has been something of a late dawning of maturity. He realised when he reached 30 this is not behaviour he can continue into the next decade and he cannot carry on the way he spent the last one.”

Craig Neill has been urged to turn his life around. Photo: Facebook

‘What do you want to be?’

Sheriff David Mackie pleaded with Neill to make the most of the support available to him as he opted to release him from jail.

He told him: “I am not going to impose a custodial sentence today. I hope this really is a turning point in your life because I think Mr Milligan has hit the nail on the head and you have wasted your 20s.

“You have to decide. When you are 35 in five years time what do you want to be? A good crewman or even the skipper of your own boat? Do you want to be reading your children a story at night?

“Or do you want to be back here on your 50th conviction and struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction? You have people behind you here.”

‘I want to hear good news’

He ordered Neill remain under a period of supervision for two years, carry out drug and alcohol treatment requirements and return regularly to the court for reviews of those orders.

He was also disqualified from driving for the next three years. He will appear before Sheriff Mackie again in October.

“I want to hear good news then,” the sheriff told Neill, of Cordiner Court.

“I know you have been here before and you know that if you don’t engage with this order you will be back here and will give the court little alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.”

“That will do you no good, do your family no good and none of us want to do that.”

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