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Remanded to protect woman

A MAN has been remanded in custody after admitting assaulting and harassing his estranged wife to the extent that a number of measures have had to be put in place to protect her. 

Richard Kortram, 49, of Lerwick’s North Road, had been due to appear in court on Wednesday to answer a charge of causing fear or alarm to the woman by repeatedly phoning and texting her, threatening to kill himself if she did not reconcile with him and threatening to kill her.

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Already on bail relating to that offence, Kortram didn’t show up in court. Instead he breached his bail conditions by repeatedly phoning his estranged wife and her mother.

When she eventually agreed to visit his home to discuss their situation – the two have an 18-month old child – Kortram then assaulted her by throwing a punch. He went on to straddle her as she sat on a couch, placing his hands around her neck and compressing her throat until she had “serious difficulty” breathing.

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On Thursday at Lerwick Sheriff Court, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the woman had then made a run for it, but Kortram grabbed her and prevented her from leaving the address.

She again struggled free and escaped to the car, but Kortram got in and sat on top of her. When the police were eventually called to the scene, he struggled with and obstructed them.

Mackenzie said it was “difficult to convey just how much of a risk he poses to his estranged wife”.

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After the couple separated around six weeks ago, he made in excess of 70 phone calls – some of which she answered – and a “great deal of planning and consideration” went into his harassment.

Opposing an application for bail while a criminal justice report is prepared, Mackenzie said there was  “real, substantial and continuing concern that he will seriously hurt this woman”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Kortram, who pleaded guilty to all the charges levelled against him, was unsure whether his behaviour had cost him his job.

He has been struggling to cope with the break-up, feeling he has been left for someone else, and is concerned about what part he will now play in their child’s upbringing.

Sheriff Philip Mann said it was a “disturbing situation” and there seemed to be a “very distinct possibility” that Kortram would commit further offences – particularly towards his estranged wife – if he was released on bail.

He adjourned the matter until 27 May for reports and placed Kortram on remand.

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