A thug who was part of a masked gang which threatened a teenager with a meat cleaver and assaulted her has been jailed for more than two years.
Grazvydas Gudavicius was one of four men who walked into a unlocked home near Turriff on February 13 looking for two other people when they woke the sleeping 18-year-old.
The 21-year-old appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court via video link yesterday and admitted, while acting with others, brandishing a meat cleaver, seizing the young woman by her hair, dragging her from her bed and repeatedly striking her to the body with an unknown object.
Gudavicius, of HMP Inverness, also admitted stealing ornamental swords, a replica BB gun, cash, bank cards and a purse.
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told the court the victim was woken at around 2.30am by the sound of her bedroom door opening.
He said the teenager noticed two men going between her bedroom and the hallway and they were dressed in dark clothing and had their faces covered.
Mr Neilson said one of the men then produced a blade from his top and they asked for two people who had been in the house earlier.
He said: “The second male described as having a bigger build, unzipped his top and took out a large meat cleaver with a black handle.”
Mr Neilson said it was clear they were looking for the two other people who had left the property and the men accused the girl of hiding them.
He said one of the men noticed the victim trying to call someone for help and they grabbed her by the hair.
Mr Neilson said: “He pulled her from her bed. The second male then joined in and both dragged her through to the bathroom.
“She was thrown on the bathroom floor and struck on the ribs twice with an unknown heavy object.
“The complainer could also hear smashing noises coming from elsewhere in the house and a further two male voices.
“One of these males was the accused. She screamed loudly and one of the males, the accused, shouted ‘let’s leave it, let’s go.’”
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Mr Neilson said the victim suffered bruising to her arms and torso, which was deemed to be consistent with blunt force trauma. He said a clump of hair was found by police in the bathroom.
Four distinctive samurai swords, a BB gun, cash, bank cards and a purse were also taken. One of the swords was later found in Gudavicius’ bedroom but none of the other items have been recovered.
Defence solicitor Leonard Burkinshaw said his client accepted his part in the incident, also had a longstanding drug problem and had been pressured into committing the offence.
Summing up the defence position, Sheriff Graham Buchanan said: “Are you saying he was encouraged into taking part in an exercise which involved intimidation of people who were in debt to those instructing him?”
Mr Burkinshaw said: “Effectively they were looking for money from him, but told him if he did what they wanted him to do that would discharge his debt.
“He had been in contact with this female before and advised she should contact these people and sort something out because he knew what they were like.
“When they went into the house he became aware quite early on this was not the person.
“The person they were looking for effectively had been selling drugs in the area and got herself into difficulty.
“He is the person who shouted ‘let’s leave it, let’s go’ because he knew it wasn’t the person they were looking for.”
Sheriff Buchanan said it was a “terrifying experience” for the victim and that Gudavicius was part of a “concerted” attack.
He said: “The crime you committed is a very serious matter indeed.
“It involved the entirely innocent complainer and would’ve been a terrifying experience which involved brandishing a meat cleaver and repeatedly striking her with unknown object to her injury.
“You went along with others to commit this concerted attack.
“Although you are not a teenager you are still a young man and that is something I need to take into consideration.”
Sheriff Buchanan jailed Gudavicius for 32 months and also imposed a 12 month supervision once he is released.