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Two men jailed after ‘brutal and appalling attack’ in Inverness

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Sheriff Court is in Inverness Justice Centre.
Inverness Sheriff Court is in Inverness Justice Centre.

Two men who burst into an Inverness man's home and committed "a brutal and appalling attack" with a crowbar have both been jailed.

Thomas Marello, of Fir Place, Inverness was wearing a balaclava and had a hood over his head when he forced his way into Stephen Dick's flat, in Mackintosh Road, Inverness on the night of March 22, 2023. He was jailed for 27 months.

One of his companions was 22-year-old Corey MacLeod, of Galloway Drive, Inverness, who tried to severely attack Mr Dick and threatened to kill him, was jailed for two years. Both were backdated to April 30 when they were remanded.

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A third man, 26-year-old first offender Rhunne MacGregor, of Old Evanton Road, Dingwall had sentence further deferred until July 2 because his background report had not yet been completed. His bail was continued.

Inverness Sheriff Court had previously been told that the incident began after Mr Dick mistakenly called MacLeod's mother.

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh told the court that a friend of Mr Dick's then received a phone call from an angry MacLeod and could hear MacGregor in the background and as they both "sounded out of it, he terminated the call".

But later that evening, the friend and a woman who was also in the flat, heard people outside shouting in the communal corridor "you better let us f****** in".

MacLeod and MacGregor had been joined by Marello.

Ms Duffy-Welsh added: "[The friend] looked out of the peep hole in the door and observed Marello pointing at the door with a crowbar and wearing a green balaclava, a blue top with the hood up over his head and wearing disposable gloves.

"There were two loud bangs at the front door and it burst open."

The prosecutor said the three men entered and shouted at Mr Dick to wake him up as he was asleep on the couch.

"MacGregor punched Stephen Dick in the face several times and Marello struck Stephen Dick on the thigh with a crowbar.

"MacLeod then jumped on top of Stephen Dick and repeatedly punched him on the face before striking him with his knee in the face.

"Stephen Dick was crying and shouting that he couldn't breathe.

“MacGregor then grabbed MacLeod and pulled him off and pinned him to the floor preventing a further attack."

The trio fled the flat but before they did, MacLeod noticed Mr Dick’s friend had cash in his hand and he wrestled it out. "The quantity was £30," Ms Duffy-Welsh went on.

She added that police were called and later arrested the trio in Harbour Road, finding a crowbar and a mallet in Marello's backpack.

Mr Dick required hospital treatment to a broken nose and a number of cuts.

MacLeod was originally charged with the attempted murder of Mr Dick and he told officers: "I hope he dies wherever he is."

All three men admitted a charge of hamesucken - an ancient charge meaning forced entry to a property and then assaulting Mr Dick to his severe injury. Marello admitted possessing two offensive weapons and Macleod also pleaded guilty to a further charge of robbery.

Marello's solicitor Duncan Henderson asked Sheriff Gary Aitken to consider "taking the unusual step of imposing a community payback order, for which he has been assessed by social workers as suitable".

Sheriff Aitken rejected that option, saying: "You clearly attended there expecting violence and to mete it out. It is a brutal assault."

MacLeod's lawyer, Graham Mann, appealed to the sheriff not to jail his client either, who, he said, had "a history” with Mr Dick.

"He has a hazy recollection. He was taking drugs and drink, and he grabbed blister packs of drugs from the flat, leaving him virtually comatose for three days afterwards."

Sheriff Aitken told MacLeod: "This was an appalling offence of violence. Being out of your face on drugs is no excuse."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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