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Van thief jailed for nine months

A MAN who stole a van from Grantfield Garage before subjecting a woman to a “horrific” ordeal and threatening to kill police officers has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

Craig Moverly, 44, of Burnside, Lerwick, admitted taking the van, which a customer had left parked outside the garage with the engine running, and driving it to the South Mainland on 17 January.

He pleaded guilty to driving dangerously and at excessive speed while uninsured, along with two counts of hehaving in a threatening or abusive manner.

Moverly had attempted to overtake vehicles in the face of oncoming traffic, which procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said could have resulted in “fairly catastrophic” consequences.

Later that day Moverly stood in the middle of a single track road between Scousburgh and Bigton, forcing a woman driver to stop her car.

Moverly then got into the passenger seat and, while her two children were sitting in the back seat, repeatedly asked the woman for a kiss. At that point, the fiscal said, the mother’s “discomfort and unease had turned to downright fear”.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard how she drove Moverly to the nearby Bigton Shop, followed by a delivery van driver who she had recognised.

When they arrived at the shop the woman left the car with her children, at which point Moverly climbed into the delivery van and started its engine.

Another woman managed to prevent him from driving away by wrestling the ignition key from him, but broke a small bone in her hand during the struggle.

Police eventually caught up with Moverly in a field near the shop and a “violent struggle” ensued. He shouted, swore and threatened to kill the two officers, who had some difficulty in subduing him.

A small number of pills were found in his possession, and MacKenzie said it appeared Moverly’s consumption of illegal substances “may be at the root of the problem”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client accepted his behaviour must have been terrifying to several members of the public.

Moverly had been experiencing “nightmarish” hallucinations on the day in question and “his fears were real to him at the time”.

Although psychological assessments had not identified a treatable mental health condition, Allan said it was clear Moverly faced problems.

Sheriff William Taylor said it might be the case that Moverly needed further medical assessment.

But his behaviour on 17 January had been “utterly disgraceful” and “a lot of different people were terrified not only for their safety but the safety of others”.

“It’s absolutely horrific to consider a woman going about her daily business with two children in the back of the car [being put in that position],” Sheriff Taylor said.

He handed Moverly a nine month jail term, backdated to when he was first remanded in custody on 20 January. He was also disqualified from driving for a year.