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Court / Social work reports requested after man admits charges

Lerwick Sheriff Court

A MAN from Lerwick who admitted engaging in a course of behaviour towards his ex-partner which involved verbal abuse and shouting and swearing has had his case adjourned for social work reports.

Matthew Keogh, of Water Lane, appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday to admit three charges.

The 34-year-old pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by engaging in a course of behaviour towards the woman on or between 1 December 2016 and 31 December 2018 at an address in Lerwick and elsewhere.

He also admitted striking her on the head at Mareel in Lerwick on 1 January 2019, and calling her abusive and degrading names – as well as making threats – in text messages sent on 22 April this year.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Keogh and his ex-partner had separated in 2019.

He added that his behaviour had often been “overbearing and intimidating”, with drinking becoming a more common part of his life.

During the incident at Mareel Keogh snatched a bannock out of her hand and struck her in the face, the court heard.

Mackenzie said this was “humiliating and distressing” for the woman, who was left with a red and sore face.

The fiscal said the police were alerted after the text messages which were sent earlier this year.

With Sheriff Ian Cruickshank informing court that he would seek criminal justice social work reports before sentencing, defence agent Tommy Allan said at this stage that his client had “guilt and shame” over his behaviour and wanted to apologise.

“This is not the man that he wants to be,” he said, adding that Keogh had not drunk any alcohol since.

Sheriff Cruickshank deferred the case for reports until 29 July and bailed Keogh with a special condition not to approach or contact the complainer.