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Double stabbing in Highland village sparked by unpaid debt

Inverness Justice Centre.

A fall-out between friends over a £1,000 debt led to a double stabbing in a Highland fishing village last summer.

Dylan Thorpe, now aged 19, and 25-year-old Dylan McWhinney first met each other in homeless accommodation in Inverness’s Kenneth Street.

They became good pals and when Thorpe asked his namesake for a loan, it was handed over without any arrangement for repayment.

But a jury at Inverness Sheriff Court heard yesterday that when the pair met by chance near the Argyll Hotel in Ullapool, on the night of July 31 2020, the rendezvous turned ugly.

The court was told that Thorpe, of Ardale Crescent, Strathpeffer, had two knives and stabbed his former pal and as well as his friend, 26-year-old fisherman Jordan Megbaghandu.

Dylan McWhinney, whose subsequent death was unrelated to this incident, ended up in the high dependency unit of Raigmore Hospital with a punctured lung after suffering bleeding into his chest cavity. He also sustained a stab wound to his left arm which required stitches.

Stab victim Dylan McWhinney

He was discharged on August 3.

Mr Megbaghandu was stabbed in his right arm, also requiring stitches. He told the court he was off his work for months and has been left with a scar.

‘He tried to stab me in the chest’

Thorpe denies assaulting Mr McWhinney to the danger of his life and assaulting Mr Megbaghandu in Ullapool’s Mill Street to his permanent disfigurement.

Thorpe lodged a special defence of self defence, claiming he was chased and attacked by both men.

Thorpe also denies possessing a knife without reasonable excuse.

Mr Megbaghandu was first questioned by fiscal depute Alex Swain.

The witness confirmed he and Mr McWhinney had chased Thorpe and that he had grabbed him and wouldn’t let go.

He said Thorpe pulled out a small penknife.

“He tried to stab me in the chest but it caught the material of my tee-shirt,” Mr Megbaghandu said. “I held his arm with the first knife but then he pulled out a second knife, with a six-inch blade and stabbed me in the elbow.

“I warned Dylan that he had a knife but he paid no attention to that.”

Under questioning from defence solicitor Graham Mann he denied wanting to hurt Thorpe, claiming he wanted both men to talk after they had fallen out in the pub earlier that night.

He told the court: “The debt had nothing to do with me. It was not my concern. But I had known Dylan McWhinney for a long time. We were like brothers and what bothered him bothered me.

“I shouldn’t have grabbed Dylan Thorpe. We make some stupid decisions sometimes.”

‘I didn’t pull out a knife’

Mr Megbaghandu said he “felt responsible” for what happened to his best friend but denied he was “enforcing” the debt on his behalf – “It is not what I do,” he said.

He also denied a suggestion by Mr Mann that he and/or Mr McWhinney had a knife, but admitted Thorpe must have been scared and that he and Mr McWhinney had attacked Thorpe first.

He added: “I was trying to speak to him. I didn’t pull out a knife.”

Mr McWhinney’s hospital bed statement given to a police officer was also read out in court by retired detective constable Andrew Thomas.

It told a similar story to Mr Megbaghnadu. Mr McWhinney explained that Thorpe had walked away from him, pretending to be confused and not knowing anything about a debt.

The trial continues.

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