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Man who smashed nine windows by catapulting ball bearings can become ‘better person’, says dad

Jason Mirren leaving court.
Jason Mirren leaving court.

A father has said he hopes a man who smashed his window with a catapult and metal ball bearing can become a “better person” after admitting the offence in court.

Jason Mirren admitted nine charges of vandalism and one of assault to injury – after firing ball bearings from a car with a catapult “willy-nilly”.

The 22-year-old travelled around Ellon, Oldmeldrum, Cruden Bay and Boddam firing the small ball bearings at windows and, on one occasion, hitting a woman and leaving her injured.

He used a catapult to launch the missiles from a car, and had initially been targeting lampposts before things “became ridiculous” and the ball bearings were fired off “willy-nilly”.

One of the properties hit by Mirren was at Craighall Lodge in Ellon, where Gavin Elphinstone, 28, and Claire Henry, 30, live with their six-month-old son and two older children.

Gavin Elphinstone and Claire Henry with their baby.

Gavin said: “It’s good that they’ve managed to find out who it is and get them.

“If they kept getting let off with it or kept getting away with it they’d continue to do it.

“It’s good they actually got a hold of him.

“For pleading guilty, that’s the right thing to do, to be honest.”

Sentence was deferred on Mirren for a social work report, and Gavin said he’d rather see Mirren get help to become a better person than be punished with a jail term.

‘They might be able to talk some sense into him’

He said: “I’m sure the social workers will have a better understanding of what’s going on in his life.

“Maybe with social work’s help, they might be able to find out why he was doing it. The social work might be able to get to the bottom of it and they might be able to talk some sense into him.

“I’m not one for getting somebody punished. It’s more getting him to realise his actions.

“We’ve got a justice system for a reason, so use it. Hopefully, they can make him a better person.”

Gavin Elphinstone and Claire Henry with their baby at their damaged kitchen window.

Gavin and his family slept through the incident, but discovered the damaged kitchen window the following morning.

He said: “My partner is up during the night three, four, five times with the baby, and she keeps a bottle of water in the fridge.

“Where the ball bearing came in is right in line with where the fridge is, so god forbid it did actually come through, I might have had a different look at the sentence for the guy.”

‘They were just firing them off willy-nilly’

During the court hearing, defence solicitor Tony Burgess said: “It was a catapult. There were three of them in a car.

“What started off firing at lampposts became ridiculous and they were just firing them off willy-nilly.”

Mirren, whose address was given in court papers as Turner Street, Keith, pled guilty to willfully or recklessly damaging windows by propelling ball bearings at them on addresses in Boddam, Stirling Village in Peterhead, Hacklaw Place.

The charge also involved another address in Cruden Bay, Smiddyhill in Udny, Commercial Road in Oldmeldrum, Craighall Lodge in Ellon, Hatton in Peterhead, and Cpr Health and Fitness, The Square in Ellon.

Damage to Gavin and Claire’s window.

He also admitted assaulting a woman on Station Road in Ellon by propelling a ball bearing at her which struck her on the body and left her injured.

All the offences happened on October 15.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin deferred sentence on Mirren until May and ordered a social work report to be prepared ahead of the sentencing hearing.

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