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Violent thug jailed for ‘nightmarish’ attack on north-east woman’s home as she cowered in bathroom

Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

A violent thug, who launched a “nightmarish” attack on a north-east woman’s home as she cowered locked in the bathroom with her pet dogs, has been jailed.

Sean Cordiner smashed up the woman’s car with a sledgehammer, told her she “didn’t deserve to be rich” and grabbed her by the throat.

And when the petrified woman ran back into her home and locked herself in the bathroom, the 23-year-old smashed his way into the Strichen address and battered his way through the bathroom door.

Cordiner’s victim was then chased through her home by the thug, who now had a knife, before managing to flee outside and screaming for help.

When police arrived, Cordiner threatened to return and “finish the job” when he was released from jail.

Despite the chilling threat, a court-ordered social work report categorised Cordiner as being at “minimal risk” of reoffending and recommended a community-based disposal.

But Sheriff William Summers told Cordiner: “You invaded your victim’s home and subjected her to a terrifying and horrific ordeal.

“That was nightmarish and not something to be expected in rural Aberdeenshire.”

Sheriff Summers said the incident had left the woman “traumatised”, adding: “She may never recover.”

He went on: “Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this case is that you appear before the court with no previous convictions.

“Up until this point you appear to have led an entirely prosocial life.

“The suggestion from the social work report that this matter might be disposed of by a community payback order is entirely unrealistic.

“These offences are of such gravity that no alternative is available to the court but to impose a custodial sentence.”

He jailed Cordiner, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, for two-and-a-half years.

Defence agent Dylan Middleton had said his client had only “vague recollection of certain matters” but had been able to “put together pieces of what happened”.

He said: “He’s clearly unsure exactly how much he had to drink on that evening.

“He was certainly unaware of the enormity of the matters now before the court.”

Mr Middleton said his client recognised the impact the matter had had on his victim, adding: “He wants to make clear to the court how sorry he is for his actions.

“He’s aware there’s nothing that can make up for his actions.”

Aberdeen Sheriff Court previously heard Cordiner was walking along the former Formartine and Buchan railway between Fraserburgh and Strichen on June 17 when he decided to target the victim who was at home on her own.

The court heard he was “intoxicated” as he walked along the former line with a friend before the pair fell out and parted ways.

Some time later the woman heard banging noises outside her home and went outside to find out what it was.

Inside the garage her blue Audi A3 had been “extensively damaged” with dents in the doors and both wing mirrors had been removed.

There was also a rucksack and a baseball cap that did not belong to her.

A topless Cordiner was seen walking away and the woman asked him if he had seen anyone damaging her car but he did not respond.

Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told the court Cordiner then approached the victim shouting “you don’t deserve to be rich” before taking hold of her throat.

He said she managed to break free and locked her patio door before calling the police.

Mr Neilson said the emergency services call handler advised the woman to lock herself in the bathroom and she did this after collecting her pet dogs and a knife from the kitchen.

He said Cordiner tried to gain entry to the house and he threw plant pots and bricks at the front door.

Mr Neilson said she was hiding in the downstairs bathroom when Cordiner managed to get inside before punching and kicking the bathroom door.

He said: “She became aware of the door to the bathroom being kicked and punched violently from the opposite side.

“The accused punched a hole in the door and made attempts to seize the complainer.

“He made the hole in the door bigger and threw a brick through it. The brick narrowly missed her.

“He then forced the door open and seized the complainer.

“He punched her arm numerous times – the same arm in which she held the knife.  He then took the knife and brandished it at her in a threatening manner.

“She was in fear for her life.”

Mr Neilson said the victim saw a family on the old railway line and banged on her door to alert them to her plight and she was also shouting and screaming for help.

He said she managed to get out of the house and onto the old railway line with Cordiner following behind with the knife.

Cordiner turned to two men and lunged towards them with the blade.

Mr Neilson said police sirens could be heard in the distance and Cordiner threw the knife in a bush before throwing more stones at the house.

He said that when Cordiner was being placed into the police van by officers he said: “As soon as I am released from custody, I am coming back to this house to finish the job.”

Mr Neilson said the knife and a sledge hammer were recovered and the victim believes the cost of the damaged to be £14,000.

Cordiner appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court via video link and previously pled guilty to seizing the woman by the neck, forcing entry to her house and brandishing a knife at her.

He also admitted uttering threats of violence and wilfully, recklessly and destroying the property of another.

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