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Prison and non-harassment order for man who attacked former partner in terrifying Ross-shire attack

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Margaret Neilson heard the case.
Sheriff Margaret Neilson heard the case.

A woman was viciously assaulted by her former partner in the early hours of a September morning when he suspected her of seeing another man.

Derek Mackay attacked the terrified woman once in her home by kicking her door in to gain entry after shouting: "I know you have a man in the house."

Then the 34 year old, who has Invergordon connections, returned to Seaforth Place in Dingwall three and a half hours later about 6am on September 14, and drove her away.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told that she tried to alert other motorists to her predicament by opening the vehicle door while it was still moving.

But Mackay, described as an Inverness prisoner, pulled her back on to his lap and unleashed a flurry of blows to her head, fracturing her eye socket. He also bit her finger as she tried to fend him off, fiscal depute Robert Weir told Sheriff Margaret Neilson.

He threatened to kill her and then lost control of the car and ended up in a ditch before running away, Mr Weir told the court.

The woman, who was hysterical by this time, was assisted by members of the public and was treated by ambulance staff, Mr Weir added.

Mackay was originally suspected of attempting to murder the woman. But he pleaded guilty to threatening behaviour, forcing his way into her home and assaulting her by grabbing her throat and hair, assault to severe injury in a car, and possessing five grams of cannabis when searched by police on September 15.

Mackay admitted a long list of previous convictions, including being jailed for four years and three months in 2013 for raping a sleeping woman in Alness.

In December, 2019 police sought the public's help in tracing Mackay and warned he was a danger. They took the rare step of issuing a photograph of him at that time.

He was jailed for 32 months this week, backdated to September 16. A three-year non harassment order was also imposed.

Defence solicitor Ian Houston said the couple had been in "a toxic relationship" for almost two and a half years.

He said: "Come the autumn of last year, he resolved to part with her and it was in the course of removing his belongings, the assaults took place. He accepts he should not have raised his hands."

Related: Survivor of abuse hailed by police after jailing of man

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