Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north and north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases – from the nursery teacher who turned into a sinister stalker to the pervert priest who finally faced justice after more than 40 years.
On Monday, a valium-fuelled lout who smashed his way into a high street baby shop in full view of CCTV cameras was dubbed “not a master criminal” by his own lawyer.
John McCormick threw a brick through a front window of Daisy’s Baby Boutique on Peterhead’s Queen Street in the early hours of the morning and stole £500 worth of infants’ clothes from within.
The 30-year-old also swiped just £15 from the till but caused £1,000 of damage during the amateurish break-in, which was captured on several CCTV cameras in the town centre.
Sports car owner in court after ‘public spectacle’ goes viral
A man who unwittingly created “a public spectacle” after he got his souped-up racing car stuck in the sand at Stonehaven harbour has appeared in court.
Andrew Dinan, 25, admitted driving his bright yellow Nissan at the beachfront while disqualified from driving and without insurance.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how the car was being photographed on the sand when it got stuck fast – much to the delight of onlookers.
Teen kicked man unconscious
A would-be have-a-go hero was kicked in the head and knocked unconscious when he tried to help a youth who had been threatened.
The youngster had been playing football in Inverurie with a pal when Sandy Stewart approached with a group of nine other teens and demanded he apologise to his friend by kissing his feet.
The confrontation ended when the youth ran to the nearby Commercial Inn pub, where he asked two older bystanders for help.
Thug attacked stranger with shovel
A thug has been jailed after attacking a stranger with a shovel, causing him to hit his head on a kerb as he fell to the ground.
Lee Smith armed himself with a shovel and lashed out after getting into a row with the man when he wouldn’t give him a cigarette.
Smith, 34, was left covered in blood and when he was stopped by police shortly after, claimed he’d acted in self-defence, even bragging: “I can handle myself.”
Fiscal depute Lynne MacVicar told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Smith’s victim had been socialising with a pal in an Aberdeen bar before leaving around 7pm on October 25, grabbing a takeaway and walking home along School Road.
Firm fined after ghillie drowns in four inches of water
A land management group has been fined more than £5,000 after an experienced ghillie drowned in four inches of water at a popular angling site.
Dad-of-three James Sinclair – known as Jimmy – died at the Canterland beat of the River North Esk, near Kinnardy Pool fishing hut, on August 31 2018.
Grimsby firm Freshney Developments has now admitted breaching health and safety guidelines when it allowed Mr Sinclair to carry out unsupervised riverbank work.
Sinister stalker branded ‘evil and warped’
An Aberdeen nursery teacher who carried out a year-long campaign of stalking against the family of her ex-partner was today branded “evil and warped” by one of her victims.
Emma Johnston, 49, admitted targeting her ex’s mother and sister with dozens of false claims – including messages and letters from funeral and crematorium services and reports to police alleging domestic abuse and benefit fraud.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how one of her victims, a 71-year old leukaemia sufferer, received calls and letters from funeral directors stating she had died.
Graveyard attack on woman’s new boyfriend
A thug has been handed a supervision order after battering his ex’s new boyfriend unconscious in a city centre graveyard.
Ruaraidh Hutchison lashed out at the man after a “chance meeting” in the St Nicholas graveyard just off Union Street.
The man had been with Hutchison’s ex-partner, who Hutchison had been banned from contacting, and introduced him as her new boyfriend.
Hammer threat from jealous ex
A jealous ex-boyfriend sent a menacing video message to his former partner’s pal in which he threatening to take a hammer to the skull of “anyone that has harmed her”.
Stuart McKinley, 27, admitted sending numerous abusive telephone calls, messages and videos to his ex-girlfriend and her friend in an attempt to get in contact with the pair on April 24 2021.
He also pleaded guilty to acting in a manner that was likely to cause fear or alarm to the two women – alongside causing reckless damage to a number of properties and a vehicle on the same night.
Woman smashed way into pub with frying pan
A woman has been handed a supervision order after smashing her way into her local pub using a keg and frying pan and stealing booze.
Jill Wiggins, or Knox, spent half an hour using various tools she found lying around at the back of the Three Lums pub in Sheddocksley to try and break a window.
When she eventually managed to get in, the 42-year-old grabbed Jack Daniel’s and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, along with five other bottles.
But Knox was apprehended over the early-morning raid when she called 999 herself requesting assistance later the same morning.
Shoe hit police officer in the groin
A man has described his own actions as “childish” after he admitted kicking his shoe at a police officer.
Ryan Ritchie was being spoken to by cops on Maberly Street, Aberdeen on May 28 2020 when he made off on foot resulting in officers having to call for assistance.
Upon being apprehended and searched, the 28-year old then lashed out at the officers and punted his footwear towards Constable Paul Mellor, which saw the shoe travel a short distance before striking him in his groin.
Highland footballer unmasked as cocaine dealer
On Wednesday, a former Highland League footballer admitted being a cocaine dealer.
Gordon Finlayson, 27, who has played for Elgin City, Brora Rangers and Forres Mechanics and won the 2019 North Caledonian League player of the year award at Alness United, changed his plea on the second day of his trial at Inverness Sheriff Court.
The jury previously heard how drugs and cash were found in a police raid on his house in Shillinghill, Alness, as well as in a car he hired a week before the search.
Bags sometimes used by dealers were also found in a jacket bearing the Alness United logo.
Jail for driver after scooter smash
On Thursday a man was jailed after causing a horror head-on crash that left a 19-year-old scooter rider paralysed from the chest down.
Brendan Gall, 34, was convicted after a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court of causing serious injury by dangerous driving over the devastating collision on the B994 Kintore to Kemnay road.
Gall denied seriously injuring Oskar Sumera by driving at excessive speeds for the conditions and road layout. He also denied a charge of driving without insurance.
Crisp packet drug smuggling foiled
Two men have admitted attempting to smuggle more than £800 worth of drugs into HMP Grampian in a crisp packet.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Darren Walsh, 54, and current inmate James Hutcheson, 30, attempted to sneak cocaine and cannabis into the jail by putting it in a crisp packet during a prison visit on August 11 2019.
However, the plot was foiled by staff who witnessed the exchange and seized the drugs.
Walsh pleaded guilty to two charges of attempting to sneak cocaine worth hundreds of pounds into the prison.
Lockdown party sparks horror bottle attack
A man has admitted bottling a neighbour who had been partying for days during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Keith Pirie, 22, saw red after revellers had been holding noisy garden parties for several days at the beginning of the pandemic.
Following an argument with two men from his window, Pirie then challenged one to a fight before pulling out a glass bottle and smashing him over the head with it.
Man’s sexual remarks to cop land him in dock
A man has dodged being placed on the sex offenders register after telling a female cop he was a dog and wanted to lick her face.
Maciej Adamski made a string of sexual comments to the officer and stared intently at her while licking his lips.
The unsettling incident happened during a journey in a police vehicle to Kittybrewster station, after the 20-year-old had been arrested for breaching an antisocial behaviour order.
Boxer told to control his temper
A sheriff has warned a professional boxer to control his temper if he wants to stay out of jail and continue his career.
Heavyweight Craig Dick appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he admitted two domestic charges.
The 33-year-old, who has an upcoming title bout against a Ghanaian fighter, admitted shouting as well as kicking and head butting his partner’s door in Aberdeen, damaging it while trying to gain entry.
Man snared by paedophile hunters
A man downloaded and distributed videos of children being sexually abused then sent disgusting messages to an undercover paedophile hunter.
Anthony Williams, 55, thought he was communicating with a young teenage girl when he sent a video of himself performing a sex act.
Williams, who previously lived in Kenneth Street, Inverness, but is understood to be now living in Drumnadrochit, was arrest by police and has now appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court, where he admitted causing a person pretending to be a child a sexual communication, attempting to cause an older child to look at sexual images and communicating indecently.
Paedophile priest jailed over historic sex abuse
On Friday, a priest who was brought back from Australia was today jailed for four years and five months for sexually abusing two former pupils at a fee-paying Highland school more than four decades ago.
Former monk Denis Alexander, 85, preyed on the children while teaching history at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the 1970s. Alexander preyed on the boys during yoga classes and at his study in the institution.
A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have brought lasting shame on the Order of which you were a member.”
Lord Burns said: “You plead guilty to the sexual abuse of two young boys who were between 12 and 14 in 1973 until 1976. You were 37 to 40 years of age at the time.