A pensioner who stabbed his friend in the neck when they fell out after a day drinking cider and whisky has been spared jail.
Former gamekeeper Duncan Mackenzie had phoned his pal to get him a bottle of whisky while he was at the local shop before inviting him into his Gairloch home to share the spirit alongside some tins of cider.
The friends shared drinks in Mackenzie’s one-bed council home throughout the afternoon and well into the evening of January 25 this year.
But things turned sour around midnight when a heated exchange of words between the pair ended in Mackenzie, 71, stabbing his pal.
Fiscal depute Robert Weir previously told Inverness Sheriff Court: “During the altercation, Mackenzie made his way through to his bedroom before returning with a ‘Commando’ style knife. He then put the knife to (his friend’s) throat. (His friend) said: ‘You won’t do it, you are all mouth, you.’
“At this point, Mackenzie stabbed him once to the front centre of his neck. Realising he was bleeding, (his friend) immediately used his mobile phone to dial 999 while Mackenzie sat back in a chair. (His friend) was advised to apply pressure to the wound.”
Mr Weir said that an ambulance arrived about 12.30 am where the crew found the victim conscious and holding a heavily bloodstained towel to his neck.
But police saw blood on the carpet and Mackenzie was arrested. The knife was found hidden in a wellington boot. The victim suffered a 2cm wide wound but it did not require stitching, although a vein had been cut.
‘Alcohol is a significant problem for you’
His defence solicitor Duncan Henderson said his client was not in good health. He added: “This is his third crime involving alcohol and he has an ongoing problem. But he has now sought help.”
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald imposed two years of supervision plus alcohol treatment for the same period as an alternative to custody.
She explained: “Alcohol is a significant problem for you. I could sentence you to a period of prison. You have pled guilty to stabbing your friend in the neck to the danger of his life.
“Fortunately for you and your friend, the wound was not deep and did not require stitches.”
She also banned Mackenzie, of Burnside Terrace, Gairloch, from seeing his pal or entering his home.