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Man banned from Aberdeen city centre jailed after spitting at family and cops during pandemic

John Middleton faced 12 charges at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
John Middleton faced 12 charges at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

A man who is banned from Aberdeen city centre has been jailed after he spat at his family and police during the Covid-19 pandemic.

John Middleton, 23, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted to a total of 12 charges related to assault and breaching an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) by spitting on members of his own family and police officers.

He was also found walking the city streets with a set of knuckledusters.

The court heard Middleton was subject to an ASBO after he carried out a racially aggravated verbal attack at an Aberdeen strip club in 2018.

As a result, he was given the order banning him from being anywhere in the city centre while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Middleton, who was subject to eight bail orders at the time of his arrest, also prompted a week-long police manhunt after he went missing in 2019.

He is also subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order dating back to 2017.

Middleton pleaded guilty to 12 charges of assaulting members of his own family and police officers and of spitting at them.

He also admitted being in possession of a set of knuckledusters.

Middleton has several previous convictions for assault.

Accused spat vodka in mum’s face

Fiscal depute Brian Young told the court Middleton was first arrested in relation to these charges on June 17, 2020, when police apprehended him on Victoria Road, Aberdeen, with a black rucksack.

Middleton attempted to throw the bag away to avoid detection, but it was found by police and a set of knuckledusters were discovered inside.

A month later, on July 23, 2020, Middleton was again reported to police when he took a member of his family’s mobile phone and attacked her when she tried to get it back.

The court heard Middleton pushed the woman to the ground and held her there before spitting in her face on two occasions.

He then spat vodka into his own mum’s face when she attempted to speak to him about the incident.

Police officers returning to Tillydrone Police Station found Middleton sleeping at the front door of the station later that night.

He was cautioned, arrested and taken to Kittybrewster Custody Suite where he then spat at constables on several occasions.

On September 12, 2020, Middleton was found on Jasmine Terrace, Aberdeen, drinking from an open bottle of wine, which was in breach of his ASBO and Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

When asked to give a specimen of breath by officers, he refused and was again cautioned and arrested.

As Middleton was escorted to the police van he began to resist and told officers “I’m going to kill you” before spitting on them.

Back at a police holding cell he then kicked an officer to the chest.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Union Street, Aberdeen.

Sheriff ‘particularly concerned’ about number of offences

Defence agent Andrew Ormiston told the court Middleton was in his “early 20s” at the time these offences were committed.

He added: “He is someone who has matured since then and sees that he needs the help of others to deal with the mental health issues that trigger these types of behaviours.

“Mr Middleton has a number of previous convictions but if there is a prospect of rehabilitation then perhaps that is the best solution.”

Sheriff Andrew Miller told Middleton it was of “particular concern” to the court that he had committed these offences while he was under orders from the court.

He added: “Due to the nature of these offences, the number of them and the regularity with which you have breached these orders in the past I am not satisfied that it would be appropriate to impose a community-based disposal.”

Sheriff Miller sentenced Middleton, whose address was given as HMP Grampian, to three years in prison backdated to September 14, 2020.

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