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Man who attacked staff with a hammer in New Craigs Hospital after blaming them for the death of girlfriend Jade McGrath is jailed

By Gregor White

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Duncan MacLaren outside Inverness Sheriff Court.
Duncan MacLaren outside Inverness Sheriff Court.

A man who blamed staff at New Craigs Hospital in Inverness for the death of his girlfriend has been jailed for 18 months.

Duncan MacLaren (29) assaulted a doctor at New Craigs Hospital during the incident on October 27 last year.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard previously how he went to the hospital armed with the hammer.

He smashed up a nurses' office in the hospital's Maree Ward and threatened to kill members of staff.

The court was told that a doctor tried to hold on to the handle of the office door to prevent MacLaren getting out but he smashed the handle and managed to get into the ward itself.

The doctor was then knocked to the floor and MacLaren kicked him in the ribs.

He also punched a staff nurse in the face after throwing the hammer at him and then retreated back to the office where he shouted and swore until police arrived.

He claimed staff had killed his girlfriend, Jade McGrath (19), who had checked into the hospital as a voluntary patient before going missing in November 2018.

Her body was found following extensive searches.

MacLaren, of Broomhill Court, Nethybridge, has been on remand since October last year.

He admitted behaving in an abusive manner at the hospital, damaging equipment and assaulting Dr Harvey Gamble and staff nurse Alistair Macleod and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Solicitor Neil Wilson said: "He still harbours a grudge, not towards the individuals but the institution of New Craigs in general.”

Sentence had been deferred for reports until this week, when he also admitted a separate assault on a taxi driver in Aviemore on July 23 last year.

In that case the court heard the attack was against a driver who had previously banned him from his vehicle.

MacLaren repeatedly punched the driver and pulled him from his vehicle.

He was sentenced to a further six months for that assault.

As he was being led from the dock MacLaren said: "She (Miss McGrath) didn’t kill herself. She was a victim of medical negligence.”

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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