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Jail for knife threats and assaulting police

| Written by Shetland News

Lerwick Sheriff Court. Lerwick Sheriff Court. A MAN from Lerwick whose “animalistic” behaviour saw him threaten his neighbours with a knife before assaulting three police officers has been sentenced to more than a year in jail.

Craig Nelson, of Hoofields, was given a custodial sentence of 51 weeks for a string of offences committed all on the same day in January when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

He was given a further two months in prison for contempt of court after being deemed unfit for his last appearance on Thursday (13 April).

At the court on Tuesday, the 37 year old admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner at Hoofields on 9 January by shouting and swearing, making threats and brandishing a knife.

He also pled guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner at an address at Hoofields by shouting, swearing and threatening to kill police constables.

Nelson, who appeared from custody, admitted assaulting three male police constables, repeatedly biting one on the leg, repeatedly attempting to butt another, and attempting to bite the hand of the third constable.

He also pled guilty to repeatedly threatening to kill police constables before maliciously smearing faeces over a cell camera lens and urinating over the cell door at Lerwick Police Station later on the same date.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Nelson was in an “aggressive and belligerent mood” when he returned to where he was staying at around 8.30pm.

He saw people entering a nearby property and began shouting at them. They ignored him and went inside, but he started waving a kitchen knife and threatened to stab them.

The police were called and they attended Nelson’s house before having to restrain him.

Mackenzie said that “unfortunately” for the 37 year old, his partner filmed the incident with her mobile phone in a “puerile attempt” to intimidate the police, but it only served to highlight Nelson’s “truly animalistic behaviour”.

His behaviour continued through to Lerwick Police Station, and while it had previously been noted in court that Nelson suffers from a bowel condition, the fiscal said that “does not excuse him from smearing excrement” in the cell.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the incidents happened on the anniversary of his client’s mum’s death, adding that Nelson – who had been drinking – had struggled to cope with the bereavement.

The solicitor said the people nearby had attended Nelson’s house before officers arrived at the scene, causing his client to feel “aggrieved” that they had not been dealt with by the police.

However, he now accepts that he behaved in the wrong way.

With regards to the contempt of court issue, Allan said Nelson was on a “powerful” anti-depressant, had his dosage doubled only days before and did not know how it would react with alcohol.

The solicitor said his client did have some alcohol prior to the court appearance to settle his nerves.

He said delaying the court process “wasn’t deliberate, it was a misjudgement”.

Allan said that, while custody was the likely sentence, the only possible alternative could have been a community payback order.

Sheriff Philip Mann said he wasn’t going to “beat around the bush” and told Nelson that he knew the seriousness of the offences.

He ruled that there was no alternative to a custodial sentence.

Finding Nelson guilty of contempt of court, he said the 37 year old was “totally out of it” when he was last in the dock and caused “considerable inconvenience”.

The sentence was backdated to 13 April when Nelson was sent to custody.

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