A man armed himself with a baton to remonstrate with a woman and her brother in a bitter dispute over a kitten.
Barry Russell paid a deposit to purchase the pet from a woman on Gumtree, only for her to withdraw the offer after becoming concerned at messages he had sent.
Russell, 47, would not provide his bank details for a refund out of fear he was being scammed, and instead visited the woman’s house to demand his deposit back – while armed with a baton.
An argument then broke out with the woman’s brother, during which Russell brandished the baton and behaved in an aggressive manner.
Russell brought baton ‘for protection’
Fiscal depute Brian Young told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Russell had contacted the woman over the kitten in October last year.
He said: “A deposit was agreed and paid by the accused, however, due to the nature of some of the communications the complainer received from the accused, she became concerned and withdrew the offer to sell the kitten and offered to return the deposit through online banking.
“The accused appears to have refused to provide his bank details and attended at the complainer’s home address unannounced demanding the deposit be returned.”
Russell went to the address on Stockethill Crescent at around 3pm on November 1, and the woman sent her brother to speak to him due to being concerned about messages.
The brother spotted the “large, black baton” in Russell’s hand and asked why he had it.
Mr Young went on: “He replied ‘for my protection’ and thereafter raised the baton from his side and took a stance which caused the witness to be under the impression he was considering hitting him with it.”
Russell began to shout “in an aggressive manner” asking if the man was the brother of the woman he had agreed to buy the kitten from.
He wanted a kitten ‘to help with his mood’
Mr Young said the brother gave Russell his deposit back – a fact disputed by defence agent Gregor Kelly.
Russell, of Ashgrove Avenue, Aberdeen, pled guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner over the incident.
Mr Kelly said his client had struggled during the pandemic with his health and losing his job.
He said someone had suggested he get a pet to help with his mood.
The solicitor explained Russell had not been allowed to see the kitten and “felt he was being strung along” and that he could be the victim of fraud if he gave out his bank details.
Mr Kelly said Russell had “acted aggressively” but was “not a violent person”. However, he added: “Of course, matters can rapidly escalate when one goes pre-armed to a situation like this.”
Sheriff Morag McLaughlin fined Russell £470 and granted a crown motion for forfeiture of the baton.