Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases – from the gambling addict who turned to crime to pay for his spiralling debts to a trio of sexual deviants who did some sickening things with two Shetland ponies.
Gambling addict jailed for £223,000 swindle
On Monday, a gambling addict who committed a “spectacular breach of trust” when he embezzled more than £220,000 from one of Scotland’s largest legal firms was jailed.
Trainee paralegal Callum Scott admitted swindling £223,000 from his employer Aberdein Considine in order to pay off a raft of payday loans he’d used to feed his crippling addiction.
Man set fire to scare ex-girlfriend
Jail wasn’t the final outcome for Jordan Stewart, however.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Stewart lit a fire outside his ex-girlfriend’s home to scare her “then laughed sadistically” but he has now been handed an opportunity to prove he is a better person.
Stewart waged a six-month campaign of terror against the woman, including torching bin bags outside her home and taking a crowbar to a cupboard inside her property.
Supermarket worker attacked in the aisles
A woman who attacked an Aberdeen supermarket worker in the aisles was found in possession of a knife when cops turned up.
The crimes took place at Lidl’s Hutcheon Street storePortlethen woman Natalie Jenkins was also caught with cocaine in her car – and another knife – during a separate incident at the weekend, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told today.
Man mugged for two cans of beer and a tenner
On Tuesday, a man returning from a trip to the supermarket was viciously mugged – a crime his attacker was too high to remember.
Charles Sim pounced on the 62-year-old during the early evening of June 18 last year and made off with two cans of beer and a tenner.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Sim, 38, pushed the man to the ground, repeatedly kicked him on his body, punched him on the head and repeatedly threatened to stab him unless he handed over his mobile phone.
Prison cell rammy adds extra time to sentence
An inmate at HMP Grampian was handed an extra 12 months behind bars on Tuesday after a cell rampage that saw him threaten to throw boiling water over prison officers.
Dale Davidson also ripped apart his cell’s shower before sharpening part of the door to create a make-shift weapon, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard.
When brave staff at the Peterhead prison arrived to calm the situation they were met by the enraged inmate brandishing the shower door like a battering ram and threatening to stab anyone who set foot inside his cell.
Break-up sparked abusive phonecalls
Also appearing in Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday was Louise Fraser, who “bombarded” her former lover with abusive messages and phone calls over several months.
The court was told Fraser’s angry reaction to the breakdown of the relationship in July 2019 sparked numerous calls to her former girlfriend.
She also sent repeated texts, online messages and emails over a six-month period – causing the woman to block the 27-year old from her social media channels.
Son’s fight for diving death compensation
The widow and nine-year-old son of a tragic scuba diver returned to court to sue the boating firm hired for the fateful trip.
Lex Warner, 50, died after exiting the MV Jean Elaine while diving off the Sutherland coast in 2012.
Mr Warner’s widow Debbie is suing Orkney’s Scapa Flow Charters in a £500,000 action on behalf of her nine-year-old son Vincent.
Care home worker’s racial slur
On Wednesday, an Aberdeenshire care home worker who was sacked for racially abusing a colleague was punished with a fine.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Victoria Costello, 26, got into a heated dispute with a staff member at Havencourt Nursing Home in Stonehaven in May 2019 and swore at him using a racial slur.
The argument was sparked by a difference of opinion about the correct equipment needed in a resident’s room.
During a staff meeting two days later, the maintenance technician highlighted the issue and later followed Costello into a lounge area to discuss the problem whereby she stood up, swore at the Nigerian national and uttered the racist term.
‘She was quite a hard worker, I’ll give her that’
The boss of an Aberdeen pub praised the persistence of a raider who spent more than 30 minutes smashing her way into the building so she could nab bottles of booze.
Jill Wiggins used objects she found lying around the back of the Three Lums pub – including a beer keg and frying pan – to try to smash a window.
The 42-year-old was caught on CCTV carrying out the early-morning booze raid, but was long gone by the time officers arrived at the scene.
Drink-driving biker had passenger on back
A teenager who rode his motorbike while more than twice the legal limit and with a passenger on the back has been banned from the road and warned a fine “might not be sufficient”.
Caleb Stewart had been drinking at a house party and only had a provisional license when he tore his bike through Aberchirder with a passenger on the back.
Woman spat at cops as she told them: ‘I have Covid’
On Thursday, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how a 23-year-old woman who claimed to have Covid-19 spat at police officers and threatened to infect them.
Hadlae-Beth Taylor was lifted by police following a breach of the peace in Ellon’s Ythan Place at the height of the global pandemic in June 2020.
Nursing student wept after crashing car while over the limit
A teenage nursing student has been fined and banned after crashing into four different cars while drink driving.
Megan Clark, 18, from Boddam, was more than double the drink-drive limit when she ploughed into the vehicles on Roseangle in Dundee in April.
Dents and scratches were caused to a Peugeot 208, a Citreon C1, a Kia Picanto and a Volkswagen Golf.
Drunken Clark was confronted by witnesses concerned about her driving and initially denied causing the damage.
Drink driver flipped car on city street
A woman who overturned her car while more than five times the drink-drive limit has been banned from the roads for more than two years.
Rosemary Bennett was behind the wheel on Aberdeen’s Argyle Place in the early hours of the morning when she collided with a parked car and flipped hers onto its roof.
Aberdeen Sherriff Court heard how the 29-year old was found by a delivery driver who spotted the wreckage and called the police and an ambulance.
Teacher jailed over sexual activity with pupils
On Friday, a school teacher was jailed for 15 months after engaging in sexual activity with two pupils.
Kieran Malcolmson was convicted of two charges following a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court last month.
A remote jury found the 36-year-old guilty by majority of being in a position of trust as a schoolteacher and engaging in sexual activity other than sexual intercourse with or directed towards a pupil in 2009.
Benefits cheat had £100,000 in bank account
A fraudster who received almost £35,000 in benefits while having more than £100,000 in the bank was told she’s lucky not to be in jail.
Lorraine Mearns claimed thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded benefits by lying to officials about how much money she had in the bank over the course of six years.
Between January 2012 and April 2018, Mearns knowingly made false statements to the Department for Work and Pensions about her income to claim £13,368 in employment and support allowance she was not entitled to.
She claimed another £19,960 in housing and council tax benefit between November 2012 and March 2018 by doing the same to Aberdeen City Council.
Sexual deviants had sex with Shetland ponies
A sexual deviant has been jailed after having sex with a Shetland pony – while his pal dodged a custodial sentence because he was only a teen at the time.
Jordan Turnbull, 28, and Joshua Lee-Paterson, 20, each admitted having an “unnatural connection” with separate horses at Cothal Farm in Fintray.
Turnbull’s offence was committed between October and December 2018, while Lee-Paterson committed bestiality between October and November the same year.
A third male, Mark Findlater, admitted a charge of distributing “obscene material” of his co-accused “engaging in sexual activities with horses” and was jailed for 13 months and two weeks.