A convicted sex offender gave a lift to three teenage girls in breach of a court order hours after avoiding a jail sentence in May for a similar offence.
Then when Darren Duncan, a 32 year old offshore oil worker with Fort William, Nairn and Inverness connections, heard that police were looking for him, he went on the run.
But he was eventually caught earlier this year at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel and when Duncan appeared for sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday, he again avoided prison.
Instead, because he had been on remand since May 21, Sheriff Margaret Neilson decided that he had spent sufficient time in prison and sentenced him to eight months, backdated to that date.
It effectively meant that he would be released almost immediately.
A background report had been called for on Duncan who previously admitted failing to notify police within 72 hours of him forming any kind of relationship with females.
He was also subject to a Sex Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) at the time.
The court heard that Duncan picked up two 16 year old girls in his car after they had been drinking, bought them a take-away and then them drove to Tain.
Fiscal depute Michelle Molley said that another 16 year old girl joined them and Duncan returned to Inverness where he dropped one of them off at a city address.
“The other two girls contacted him to drive them to Tain and he complied. The police were then informed.” Ms Molley went on.
Defence solicitor Kevin Connor told the Sheriff yesterday: “The report shows that he appears to now realise the need for this order and that he has to comply with it. The report also shows his remorse.”
Sentencing Duncan, who had also given a letter to Sheriff Neilson, she told him: “Matters are in your hands or you will spend the rest of your life in and out of prison.”