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Friends' fall-out over £1000 debt led to stabbing in Wester Ross village of Ullapool, court trial hears


By Ali Morrison

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The trial is being heard at Inverness Sheriff Court.
The trial is being heard at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A fall-out between friends over a £1000 debt led to a double stabbing in a Wester Ross fishing village last summer, a court heard.

Dylan Thorpe, now aged 19, and 25-year-old Dylan McWhinney first met each other in homeless accommodation in Inverness's Kenneth Street.

They became good pals and when Thorpe asked his namesake for a loan, it was handed over without any arrangement for repayment.

But a jury at Inverness Sheriff Court heard that when the pair met by chance near the Argyll Hotel in Ullapool on the night of July 31, 2020, the rendezvous turned ugly after a chase through the village.

The court was told that Thorpe, of Strathpeffer, had two knives and stabbed his former pal and his friend, 26-year-old local fisherman Jordan Megbaghandu.

Dylan McWhinney, whose subsequent death unrelated to this incident was told to the jury, ended up in the high dependency unit of Raigmore Hospital with a punctured lung after suffering bleeding into his chest cavity. He also sustained a stab wound to his left arm which required stitches.

He was discharged on August 3.

Mr Megbaghandu was stabbed in his right arm, also requiring stitches. He told the court he was off his work for months and has been left with a scar.

Thorpe denies assaulting Mr McWhinney to the danger of his life and assaulting Mr Megbaghandu in Mill Street, Ullapool between July 31 and August 1, 2020 to his permanent disfigurement.

Thorpe also denies possessing a knife without reasonable excuse.

Thorpe lodged a special defence of self defence, claiming he was chased and attacked by both men.

Mr Megbaghandu was first questioned by fiscal depute Alex Swain and then cross-examined by defence solicitor Graham Mann.

The witness confirmed he and Mr McWhinney had chased Thorpe and that he had grabbed him and wouldn't let go.

He said Thorpe pulled out a small penknife. "He tried to stab me in the chest but it caught the material of my tee-shirt. I held his arm with the first knife but then he pulled out a second knife, with a six inch blade and stabbed me in the elbow.

"I warned Dylan that he had a knife but he paid no attention to that."

He denied wanting to hurt Thorpe, claiming he wanted both men to talk after they had fallen out in the pub earlier.

He told Mr Mann: "The debt had nothing to do with me. It was not my concern. But I had known Dylan McWhinney for a long time. We were like brothers and what bothered him bothered me.

"I shouldn't have grabbed Dylan Thorpe. We make some stupid decisions sometimes."

Mr Megbaghandu said he "felt responsible" for what happened to his best friend but denied he was "enforcing" the debt on his behalf. "It is not what I do."

He also denied a suggestion by Mr Mann that he and/or Mr McWhinney had a knife but admitted Thorpe must have been scared and that he and Mr McWhinney had attacked Thorpe first.

He added: "I was trying to speak to him. I didn't pull out a knife."

Mr McWhinney's hospital bed statement given to a police officer was read out in court by retired detective constable Andrew Thomas. It told a similar story to Mr Megbaghnadu. Mr McWhinney explained that Thorpe had walked away from him, pretending to be confused and not knowing anything about a debt.

Thorpe lodged a special defence of self defence, claiming he was chased and attacked by both men.

Mr Megbaghandu was first questioned by fiscal depute Alex Swain and then cross-examined by defence solicitor Graham Mann.

The witness confirmed he and Mr McWhinney had chased Thorpe and that he had grabbed him and wouldn't let go.

He said Thorpe pulled out a small penknife. "He tried to stab me in the chest but it caught the material of my tee-shirt. I held his arm with the first knife but then he pulled out a second knife, with a six inch blade and stabbed me in the elbow.

"I warned Dylan that he had a knife but he paid no attention to that."

He denied wanting to hurt Thorpe, claiming he wanted both men to talk after they had fallen out in the pub earlier.

He told Mr Mann: "The debt had nothing to do with me. It was not my concern. But I had known Dylan McWhinney for a long time. We were like brothers and what bothered him bothered me.

"I shouldn't have grabbed Dylan Thorpe. We make some stupid decisions sometimes."

Mr Megbaghandu said he "felt responsible" for what happened to his best friend but denied he was "enforcing" the debt on his behalf. "It is not what I do."

He also denied a suggestion by Mr Mann that he and/or Mr McWhinney had a knife but admitted Thorpe must have been scared and that he and Mr McWhinney had attacked Thorpe first.

He added: "I was trying to speak to him. I didn't pull out a knife."

Mr McWhinney's hospital bed statement given to a police officer was read out in court by retired detective constable Andrew Thomas. It told a similar story to Mr Megbaghnadu. Mr McWhinney explained that Thorpe had walked away from him, pretending to be confused and not knowing anything about a debt.

The trial continues.


View our fact sheet on court reporting here



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