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Court / Man receives 26-month prison sentence for series of offences against women

A FORTY three year old man who subjected three women to violent assaults and lengthy periods of “relentless” coercive behaviour including abduction was sentenced to 26 months in prison when he appeared via video link at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Norman Donald, of Leaside, Mossbank, pleaded guilty to a total of five charges spanning a period of almost four years from November 2016 to May 2020 at an earlier appearance last month, and had been taken into custody.

Norman Donald. Photo supplied by Police Scotland.

Representing Donald in court, defence solicitor Tommy Allan said there was very little he could say in mitigation.

Referring to a social justice report, Allan said there was a “limited acceptance” by his client that what he had done was wrong and was struggling at times to accept the evidence against him.

The solicitor said it was clear from the report that a lot of work was still to be done on his client’s attitude towards women, his possessiveness and jealousy.

The court had heard earlier how life for the three women affected had turned to hell shortly after they had entered into relationships with Donald.

He admitted abducting and detaining one of his ex-partners against her will in their home in Aberdeen between 1 January and 31 March 2017, locking the door and depriving her access to the key.

He also pleaded guilty to throwing a ladder at his victim kicking her, compressing her throat and punching her.

Further, and at the same address in Aberdeen, he admitted destroying his victim’s mobile phone and passport, threatening to kill her, as well as controlling and regulating her communication and contact with friends and family.

During two short relationships in Shetland, in summer 2019 and in early 2020, Donald continued the same pattern of behaviour.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court that “this was a truly appalling catalogue of abuse against three complainers”.

Sentencing the 43-year-old on Wednesday, Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Donald had shown little or no understanding of the level of physical and psychological damage he had caused to the three victims.

“I regard this as an example of an extensive and relentless coercive behaviour,” he said.

He sentenced Donald to a total of 26 months in prison followed by a year of supervision.

The sheriff also imposed non-harassment orders banning Donald from having any contact with his first victim for five years, and for seven years in relation to the complainers named in charges four and five.

Shetland Women’s Aid service manager Laura Stronach said after the sentencing: “We know that perpetrators often repeat patterns of abuse, so we want women in Shetland to know that corroboration is often key to a successful conviction and so helps protect other people. It is possible to pick-up patterns of behaviour when we have knowledge of what is, or has, been going on.

“Domestic abuse is the leading cause of women’s homelessness and the reason for children to be on the child protection register. This means sustainable funding and access to specialist support for survivors of domestic abuse and gender-based violence is important for the safety and recovery of the women and children who are victims.

“At Shetland Women’s Aid we continue to support women and children. If you have something to disclose, talk about, or if you just need to unpick a situation with someone in confidence then we are here for you, get in touch.”

Shetland Women’s Aid can be contacted on 01595 692070, email office@shetlandwa.org, or via Facebook, or Twitter.

Detective inspector Caine McIntyre, of Police Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Task Force, also said: “Today we welcome the sentencing of Norman Donald. He is a violent individual that will now have to face the consequences of his actions.

“His conviction sends out a clear message that domestic abuse crimes will not be tolerated in a modern Scotland and will be robustly investigated by Police Scotland.

“I would like to thank the victims in this case for the courage, strength and dignity they have shown throughout this investigation. I hope that today’s sentencing provides them with some closure and will allow them to move on with their lives.

“If you are aware of anyone who is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse, then I would urge that it is never too late to report this to police or seek support and advice from one of our partner agencies.”

Local police inspector Martyn Brill said: “Thankfully incidents of this nature are rare in the Shetland community.

“I would ask anyone who feels they have been a victim of domestic abuse to come forward and speak to police.

“There is no place for crimes like this in our area and we will continue to work with our partners to help keep Shetland a safe place to live.

“Anyone with any concerns surrounding domestic abuse is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021