An Aberdeen University student held a knife to a cannabis dealer’s body in an attempt to rob him in a brutal gang attack.
Aloaye Eshilama, 20, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted to holding a knife to the man’s side and dragging him into a doorway where he and two other men then carried out a frenzied assault.
The court heard the men stole the victim’s phone and held it up to his face in an attempt to enter his online banking application.
When the gang realised the man only had £30 in his account, Eshilama and his accomplices took the man’s house keys, car keys and spectacles.
The victim was left with several injuries to his head, neck and body.
Eshilama pleaded guilty to three charges of assaulting the man and attempting to rob him.
He also admitted to being in possession of a knife.
Gang dragged victim into doorway of orphanage
Fiscal depute Brian Young told the court that Eshilama met the man on an unnamed lane between the Spital and Froghall Road in Aberdeen on the evening of December 15 2020 to buy cannabis.
However, as soon as the man handed over the cannabis Eshilama shouted “it’s a set up” and another man grabbed the dealer from behind and placed his hand over his mouth.
The court heard Eshilama then threatened to stab the man and held something sharp to his side.
Mr Young said: “The complainer was then dragged to the ground and the accused punched the complainer to the face and torso while demanding his phone.
“A third male thereafter appeared, punching him, demanding his phone and threatening to kill him.
“He was held down by the two men as the accused checked his pockets, finding and removing the complainer’s phone from his front trouser pocket.
“The complainer was then, on the order of the accused, dragged up steps at the locus by the other men and whist on his back he was punched on the head and body.”
Mr Young said threats were made by the men that they would “stab” the victim if he made any noise.
They then dragged the man 20 metres into the doorway of an old orphanage at 17 Spittal, Aberdeen, where they forced him to provide his pin code for his phone.
“He initially refused and was further punched to the body by all three males,” said Mr Young
“One of the other men then seized the complainer by the neck and compressed his throat and tried to utilise the facial recognition in order to access the phone.
“The complainer eventually provided the pin number and it was demanded he open the banking application.”
The victim then opened the banking app and the man saw that he only had £30 in his account.
The dealer started to move away from the men, however, one of his attackers noticed that there was another banking app on his phone and he was dragged back into the doorway and assaulted again.
They grabbed his neck once more and demanded he open the banking application and the man refused and they kicked and punched him again.
The group took his keys and his glasses before the man screamed out, which attracted the attention of passers-by and the three men immediately stopped the attack and walked off.
As a result of the assault, the victim received a two-inch cut to his head, bruising to the right-hand side of his head and tenderness to his neck and body.
Eshilama was traced and arrested by police three days later.
‘He has come into the criminal justice system in a rather appalling way’
Defence agent Liam McAllister stated that he was aware that this was “a very serious matter” and said he would “not try to convince the court that it is not”.
He added: “There is an alternative here to a custodial sentence and it is only because this young man is a young man.
“He was a man who had everything going for him and it seems like it was cannabis use that affected him both physically and mentally.
“Mr Eshilama is utterly ashamed by this and has apologised to everyone for his conduct – this is not the way he was brought up.
“He has come into the criminal justice system in a rather appalling way, but he hopes he can be given the chance to avoid a period of detention by this court.”
Sheriff Andrew Millar told Eshilama: “You really need to understand how close you have come to losing your liberty.
“This is undoubtedly a very serious offence and an offence of this nature results in a significant period of detention.”
However, Sheriff Miller said he took account of Eshilama’s age and that it was his first offence.
As an alternative to a prison sentence, he sentenced Eshilama, of Barn Park Crescent, Edinburgh, to a community payback order with 12 months supervision and a six-month restriction of liberty order.
Sheriff Miller also ordered Eshilama to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work.
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