An Aberdeen beautician told a court she was left shattered, crying and fearing she could be removed from Scotland after a prosecutor allegedly sent her a message.
David Wilkie-Thorburn, an assistant procurator fiscal for Grampian, Highlands and Islands for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday accused of sending a social media message to a woman that was “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.
Wilkie-Thorburn, 52, is alleged to have sent her the message in the early hours of April 7 this year, in relation to a dispute between the woman and Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband, Neil, who runs a beauty salon.
The court heard from the woman that she had been working as a beautician, renting space within the business.
Prior to the day of the incident, two other women who rented space in the business had told Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband they would cease working at the premises and instead relocate next door.
The woman, who is originally from India, told the court the move had upset Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband, who had then inquired if she intended to continue working from his premises.
She revealed she would be following the other women next door.
When she woke up on April 7, she noticed a message from Wilkie-Thorburn, sent at 1.22am.
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As well as discussing the dispute, he told the woman he was the “head of prosecution in Grampian”, responsible for making prosecution decisions on HMRC, serious fraud and immigration cases, and “responsible for making recommendations on deportation matters”.
When asked by Laura Mundell, sheriffdom procurator fiscal for North Strathclyde, how she felt when she first opened the message, she said: “It shattered me. I was in tears.”
She added: “I thought I couldn’t even go to the police. It was like I had nowhere to go.”
Neil Wilkie-Thorburn said the woman had pretended she was having visa issues before saying she was moving to another salon.
In court yesterday she admitted having done so, claiming she’d concocted the story in an attempt to leave his business more amicably.
Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband told the court he informed his partner that the woman had been trying to get him to fake payslips dating back three months to help her out of her fictional situation.
Mrs Mundell put it to Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband that he was never asked for backdated payslips by the woman, but he insisted he was.
The trial, before Sheriff Ian Duguid, will continue in December.