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Man who installed CCTV to record girlfriend also captured his own abusive actions

Simon Burton, 45, became paranoid that his former partner was cheating on him and so began to take steps to monitor her.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Image: DC Thomson.

A man who thought his partner was cheating on him installed CCTV outside her home to monitor her movements.

Simon Burton, 45, appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted spying on his partner for over six months using a camera linked to his mobile phone.

On one occasion, Burton accused the woman of having turned the camera off and then violently attacked her while threatening to “slit her throat”.

But when police arrived and seized Burton’s phone, they found recordings of his partner – but also videos which showed evidence of his abusive behaviour.

Accused convinced himself woman was cheating

Fiscal depute Dylan Middleton told the court that the couple had been in a long-term relationship, but that it had ended before being rekindled again in 2021.

He said the couple lived apart during this time, but that Burton often stayed at the woman’s house.

On May 13 2022, Burton then installed a CCTV camera outside the woman’s front door, due to a belief that she was cheating on him.

The CCTV feed was linked to Burton’s mobile phone so he could know her movements when the couple were not together.

Burton would also sometimes move the camera inside the flat, so he could monitor when she had visitors.

On the morning of September 7 2022, Burton was at the woman’s house when he noticed the camera hadn’t been recording since 9:30am that day and accused his girlfriend of switching it off to bring someone into the property without his knowledge.

The woman denied this, but Burton refused to believe her.

Seized woman by neck

“The accused then threw his mobile telephone at the complainer, who was sitting on the sofa,” Mr Middleton said.

“He repeatedly punched the complainer to her stomach and when she put her arms up to defend herself, began repeatedly punching her arms.

“The complainer moved to the hallway to use her phone to contact the Police.

“The accused followed her and seized her neck before pushing her to the floor, pinning her to the floor and seized the phone from her grasp.”

As the assault moved into the kitchen the woman managed to get her phone back where she called 999.

The call handler instructed her to lock the door and she did so.

However, Burton then forced the door open, causing the lock to bend.

He then threw on his coat and left on his e-Scooter before the police arrived.

When constables attended at the scene, they found the woman notably upset and with visibly fresh injuries to her arms.

Burton was traced by officer and as he was being taken into custody, he stated: “Yeah, she’s done this before.”

He was ultimately released without charge and the following day went back to the woman’s house and reinstalled the CCTV camera.

‘If I had threatened to kill her she’d already be dead’

Around six weeks later, as the couple were at the woman’s home, Burton once again accused the woman of cheating on him and stated that the man she was being unfaithful with was manipulating what was on the television and putting sounds through it.

About 2pm the following afternoon, Burton became aggressive and loomed over her before pointing his finger in her face and again accusing her of cheating.

At around 5.15pm on November 3, Burton returned from shopping before walking into the living room and telling his partner he would “kill her” if he found she had anyone in the house.

He stated that he would “slit her throat” and kill anyone he found in the property.

The following day Burton woke up from being asleep on the couch and stated to the woman: “I know what you’re up to, he plays it on the television what you’re doing.”

Police officer arrived to do a welfare check on November 17 2022 and found the woman alone.

They seized Burton’s phone while doing so and when he returned, they arrested him, placing him in the bedroom before he was transported to Kittybrewster Police Station.

While waiting, Burton stated to police: “How can I be arrested when I’ve not done s***, we have had a few arguments” and “I can behave any way I want, who’s going to tell me how I can behave.”

He then added: “If I had threatened to kill her she would already be dead, that’s for sure.”

An examination of Burton’s phone revealed a number of videos that showed his abusive and controlling behaviour.

On several occasions, he started the video to catch out his girlfriend but left it running afterwards.

In the dock, Burton pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in a course of conduct that was abusive to his partner.

Solicitor says accused was on crack

His defence solicitor, Paul Barnett, told the court that Burton had a number of previous convictions and had spent time in prison.

“There has been the unfortunate problem of Mr Burton suffering from drug addiction and alcohol issues,” he said.

“He accepts that he would have been hell to live with when he was on crack cocaine.

“At this point, he was suffering from delusional beliefs, and he expressed views that the complainer was cheating on him, which were coming through the TV.”

Mr Barnett went on to describe his client’s actions as a “serious course of conduct” for which Burton has “shown remorse”.

Sheriff Gareth Jones told Burton: “You were involved in a six-month period of abusive behaviour towards your then partner, which involved assaults and various threats – this is a serious course of offending.”

He made Burton, of Fraser Court, Aberdeen, subject to a community payback order with supervision and ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

The sheriff also put a non-harassment order in place, meaning Burton cannot approach his former girlfriend for two years.

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