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10 months' jail for Tain man's 'appalling course of conduct' to ex partner


By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Gary Aitken.
Sheriff Gary Aitken.

A Tain man who repeatedly pestered his former partner after she found a new romance over a year following the split was jailed for 10 months.

Ross Duncan of Mansfield Estate, Tain appeared for sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to a nine-month long campaign of domestic abuse and harassment of the mother of his child at various locations in Inverness including Varrich Crescent, Hawthorn Drive and Tomnahurich Street between March 1, 2022 and December 29, 2022.

The case had been previously deferred for a background report.

But Sheriff Gary Aitken was less than impressed by its content and criticised the 34-year-old for his attitude demonstrated in the document.

Defence solicitor David Patterson conceded: "The report is pretty grim and negative in its terms and leaves the court with very few options. He is not deemed suitable for supervision or to take part in a programme for domestic abusers.

"The offence is wholly unacceptable – he could not accept that the relationship was over and she was in a new relationship."

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh told the court that the pair broke up in late 2020 after residing together for 12 years.

"This was an appalling course of conduct and even if your attitude and approach had been more sensible to the social work report, it would have been a hard sell for Mr Patterson to persuade me that anything other than a custodial sentence would be appropriate." - Sheriff Gary Aitken

"In March, 2022 she informed him that she was in a new relationship – the first since they separated. At the time he was staying there for a week and refused to leave.

"Towards the end of March, she was due to go out on a date with her new partner and went for a meal to an Inverness restaurant. On leaving, he was in the Tesco car park and began shouting and swearing, saying he would slit her partner's throat and that he knew where his mother lived.

"On March 30, he contacted her sister demanding to know her whereabouts and she pretended to be ignorant of her whereabouts.

"Since then he would phone her regularly and attend at her home regardless of being told not to. On other occasions, he would turn up unannounced, and phone her repeatedly until she answered the phone. Sometimes it would be 15 or 16 times in a row.

"If he did not get an answer, he would phone her sister to get her to call him back."

Ms Duffy-Welsh added that Duncan would frequently drive past the woman's home when her partner was present and during the Christmas period of 2022, he drove past her house every day.

"On December 27, she contacted police as she was concerned and on December 28 he again attended at her address and tried to gain entry. On finding the property locked, he began shouting and swearing. He was arrested the following day," the prosecutor went on.

Sheriff Aitken told Duncan: "This was an appalling course of conduct and even if your attitude and approach had been more sensible to the social work report, it would have been a hard sell for Mr Patterson to persuade me that anything other than a custodial sentence would be appropriate."

The sheriff also imposed an 18-month long non-harassment order to protect Duncan's former partner.


View our fact sheet on court reporting here




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