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Narrowly avoids jail

A MAN from Lerwick who subjected his former partner to a “devastating” outburst of abuse after drinking heavily has avoided being sent to prison by a “whisker”.

Chae Coleman, of Hoofields, was instead placed under supervision for one year, given a non-harassment order for 18 months and told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Sheriff Philip Mann told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that the 23 year old had been “knocking on the door of a custodial sentence”.

Coleman previously admitted shouting and swearing at the woman, calling her derogatory names, throwing ornaments and breaking a soundbar at an address in Sandwick on 15 and 16 July this year.

He also pleaded guilty to sending his partner’s mother Facebook messages that used offensive, threatening and foul language and called her derogatory names.

The court previously heard from procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie that the couple – along with her sister – had been at his partner’s mum’s house in Sandwick drinking before Coleman’s mood turned.

After taking exception to having to turn down the volume of music, he made “horrible comments” about his partner’s appearance, causing the woman and her sister to leave.

When they returned he apologised, but then began demanding an E-cigarette. The two women went to bed but awoke at around 3am to the sound of banging and found ornaments all over the floor.

Coleman used the “same filthy language and descriptions of her” before being told to leave.

He spent an hour in a nearby bus stop where he attempted to call his partner’s mother 20 times and sent her threatening messages, before returning to the house where he “woke them again and continued with the same sort of abuse”.

The incident had a “devastating impact” on Coleman’s partner and she had been hospitalised for the sake of her mental health.

At the court on Wednesday, defence agent Tommy Allan said a social work report highlighted that Coleman now appears to be “genuinely ashamed of his behaviour” and wants to move on with life.

He said it was perhaps a “relief” to the court that his client is no longer in a relationship with the victim.

Sheriff Mann admitted that “the case has caused me a little bit of anxiety.”

“Due to your record,” he continued, “you’re on the cusp of a custody sentence.”

The sheriff said Coleman had previous convictions for domestic incidents, including ones relating to the complainer in this instance.

“You should know, Mr Coleman, that you can’t act in this manner with impunity,” he said.

But Sheriff Mann said he was persuaded “by a whisker” that custody was not the only option and instead gave him a final warning.

Coleman’s non-harassment order prohibits him from entering Virkie in the south mainland for 18 months, as well as approaching or contacting his victim.

He was also given a conduct requirement to ensure that he cooperates with social workers with regards to taking part in the domestic violence Respect programme.

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