An “in denial” abuser from Buckie equipped himself with tools to enter his ex-partner’s house uninvited, took a knife from her kitchen and waited for her to arrive home.
Jody Bruce, 45, had previously carried out “covert surveillance” on the woman’s home, watching her leave before entering the property without permission.
Inside, the creepy home intruder removed a knife from the kitchen and placed it in open view as he sat in a chair, waiting for the unsuspecting resident to come back.
He was found sitting in the woman’s living room with the weapon nearby when she returned from a trip to the chemist.
Her back door was unlocked but Bruce told the woman he had “tools with him” in case she had secured the property before leaving earlier.
Bruce’s lawyer later revealed that his troubled client had at one point been drinking “between two and three litres of vodka a day”.
After he was jailed, his relieved victim told The Press and Journal that his antics had broken the woman as a person by taking her sanity and forcing her to move out of her home of 12 years.
Domestic abuser Jody Bruce removed a knife from his Keith victim’s kitchen
Bruce appeared from custody via videolink at Inverness Sheriff Court to be sentenced for the unsettling incident on August 18 2021.
He had earlier pled guilty to engaging in a course of behaviour that was abusive of his partner or ex-partner, as well as failing to comply with a bail condition not to approach or contact the woman.
Fiscal depute Emily Hood said the victim was home alone at the property in Keith but forgot to lock the back door when she went to the local chemist for a prescription.
“When she returned a short time later, she found the accused sitting in her living room with a yellow-handled knife lying on the television unit next to him,” Ms Hood told the court.
Bruce started shouting and the terrified woman screamed and activated a personal attack alarm.
She repeatedly shouted at the unwelcome visitor to leave but he refused.
Then the shocked woman ran to the back door to call for help, at which point Bruce shouted at her to “shut the f****** door”.
Realising that no one was coming to her aid, the woman engaged Bruce in conversation, during which he told her that he had “found the back door unlocked, so, let himself in”.
The fiscal depute added: “He disclosed that he had tools with him had the door been locked. He also admitted to watching her leaving the house”.
Keith abuse victim’s ordeal went on for days
When the woman confronted the accused about having a knife, he told her he thought there was a man in the house.
Then when she questioned why he still had it, he replied that he had not threatened her with it, prompting her to declare that it was “an implied threat”.
Bruce asked the woman to drive him home to his house in Buckie, which she did.
But when the pair arrived, Bruce’s victim ended up staying for two days because she was too “fearful to leave”.
When another person visited the house to talk to Bruce about failing to take his medication, the woman answered the door “appearing worn out and upset”.
She later returned to her home, where she ignored calls from Bruce over the weekend.
The accused contacted police to express concern that she had not been in touch with him for 48 hours, prompting them to contact the woman.
Officers visited her home, Ms Hood told the court, and “the yellow-handled knife was still on the television unit where the accused left it”.
It was seized along with an audio recording that was made while Bruce had been in the woman’s home.
Bruce was subsequently cautioned and charged and he then told officers: “It is a false allegation”.
‘In denial’ abuser Jody Bruce drank ‘between two and three litres of vodka a day’
After being bailed on condition that he not approach or contact the woman, Bruce made repeated telephone calls to her in October 2021.
He told her, “I love you and I miss you” and warned he was “going to get 25 years in jail”.
Bruce’s defence solicitor Stephen Carty told the client his client had “a significant and chronic problem” with alcohol that had, at one stage, seen him drinking between two and three litres of vodka a day.
Mr Carty added that Bruce had since made some improvements in this respect.
But Sheriff David Harvie noted that the offender is already serving a nine-month jail sentence for a similar offence involving the same woman
“I have had the opportunity of reading the criminal justice social report,” Sheriff Harvie said, adding: “I have concerns about the contents of that report.
“It would appear that you are in denial. In the context of your former relationship, you had previously characterized your behaviour as bullying. This was a more accurate characterisation.”
The sheriff went on: “This was a very serious example of that. It is quite clear that your behaviour has had a profound impact on the complainant in this case.
“All of that said, there really is, in my view, given the nature of the conduct involved here and the impact that it has had, no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.”
Buckie abuser Jody Bruce ‘is a danger to women’ victim tells The P&J
He imprisoned Bruce, of Anderson Drive, Buckie, for 14 months in jail.
Bruce was also placed under a non-harasssment order, preventing him from approaching or contacting the woman for five years.
Speaking after the sentencing, the woman who survived Bruce’s abuse told the Press and Journal that she felt “grateful” that the police had put together “such a strong case” that persuaded Bruce to plead guilty.
She added: “The guilty plea says that he knows he is an abuser. He is a dangerous man. He is a danger to women.
“This predatory behaviour is not acceptable in society in 2023.
“The psychological impact of abuse is so profound. He broke me as a person. He took my sanity in the end.
“I had to leave my home of 12 years because he had broken in with a knife and he was waiting for me to get home. I had to go and hide from him.
“I’m glad he is behind bars and glad he cannot hurt anybody else. I’m glad this story is finally out there.
“I hope I can inspire other women or men who are in the same position to come forward and reach out for help.
” There is a lot of help out there. You just have to make the first move – contact the police or Women’s Aid.”
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