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Ross-shire man who falsely claimed he murdered someone spared jail at Inverness Sheriff Court for wasting time of Police Scotland officers in the Highlands

By Ali Morrison

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The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.
The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.

A MAN who wasted police time by falsely claiming to have murdered someone was told he was escaping a jail sentence because he admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity.

Donald Macleod (54), of Park Terrace, Strathpeffer, appeared for sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court before Sheriff Margaret Neilson and was represented by solicitor Clare Russell.

At a previous hearing, the court was told that a major search was launched involving police and Coastguard teams after Macleod lied about stabbing a man to death in Blackmuir Wood, Strathpeffer.

The court heard that Macleod rang police on April 6 last year to confess to the imaginary crime and even gave details of what he’d done to the man. He told officers that the man’s body could be found in a pond.

But it emerged after a major police investigation that Macleod’s “victim” was already dead.

Macleod’s revelations meant officers had to reassure concerned residents that a killer was not on the loose.

In subsequent interviews he told officers that he and his “victim” had argued and then agreed to meet at the woods to “have it out”.

He said a fight broke out and he stabbed the man before fleeing the scene when he heard a car approaching. The court heard Macleod told detectives: “It’s an open and shut case. I killed a man. This must be the easiest case ever."

However, fiscal depute Alison Young told the court: “It was all made up.” Ms Russell said: “Unfortunately alcohol has been a feature of his life since an early age which began on Skye. I would hope that given his lack of record, the court could impose a restriction of liberty order (ROLO) as an alternative to custody as he is unfit for unpaid work.”

Sheriff Neilson agreed but commented: “It is over the threshold for prison.”

She ordered Macleod to remain in his home between the hours of 7pm and 7am for the next six months, and placed him under 18 months social work supervision.

But she warned him: “If you breach these orders, you will go to jail. You only escaped jail today because you accepted responsibility at the earliest opportunity.”

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