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Man accused of Inverness doorstep stabbing walks free from court

David Hobbs celebrates his acquittal outside Inverness Sheriff Court
David Hobbs celebrates his acquittal outside Inverness Sheriff Court

A man accused of stabbing a man in the arm and back following an exchange of aggressive calls and messages has been acquitted by a jury.

The jury at Inverness Sheriff Court took less than half an hour to return a majority verdict of not proven to a charge that David Hobbs assaulted Brian Skillin to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

The court had previously heard two different versions of the events of October 5 2019, when police were called to Anderson Street in the Merkinch area of Inverness and discovered a bloodied Mr Skillin.

In his evidence on Tuesday, Mr Skillin told the court that Mr Hobbs had come to his door and set his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tyson, on him before stabbing him in the arm and back as he tried to defend himself.

He said: “I got woken up by a bang on my door about nine or ten, I know it was early.  I opened the door and it was: ‘Tyson, get him!’”

Man claimed he was stabbed during dog attack

He said the dog attacked his leg and he used a hatchet to fight it off and claimed that as he did so Mr Hobbs had stabbed him in the arm and back.

But in a video of a police interview shown to the jury on Wednesday Mr Hobbs told officers that it was he who was attacked by Mr Skillin when he went to his door to “shake his hand” and lay past grievances to rest.

Mr Hobbs claimed that it was Mr Skillin who had both a knife and a hatchet when he called at his home to make peace.

“He was coming out intentionally to do me,” Mr Hobbs said. He described Mr Skillin as being “like a raging bull.”

Asked how Mr Skillin sustained the five to 10 centimetre deep stab wounds, Mr Hobbs said: “He’s had somebody do it for him or he has done it himself.”

In closing speeches, fiscal depute Martina Eastwood told the court: “An argument is not an excuse to stab someone.”

Defence solicitor Pauline Chapman reminded the jury of the definition of assault and told them: “If there is no evil intent there is no assault.”

Speaking outside court after the verdict of not proven was delivered, Mr Hobbs said he was “not shocked” and “not surprised” by the outcome adding: “I know fine well what happened.”

‘I deserve justice’

He expressed his dismay that the matter had been brought before the court and his relief at the resulting acquittal.

“I’m not educated but I still deserve justice,” he said.

Leaving the court Mr Hobbs said he was off to try to sort out a new home as he had been unable to return to the Merkinch property since the incident.

And he said he was looking forward to being reunited with his dog Tyson, who had been staying with a friend while he awaited the outcome of his case.

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