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Court / Man threatened staff at accommodation camp before struggling with police

A MAN from Glasgow is facing sentencing in May after admitting threatening staff at a North Mainland accommodation block before struggling violently with police officers.

Stephen McDowall, of Bisland Court, also told officers he had Covid-19 symptoms before spitting and licking windows of a police vehicle.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesady that the incident, on 13 January, began at around 10pm at the Sella Ness accommodation lodge.

McDowall, 40, had been drinking and spoke to staff to say that belongings had been stolen from his room.

Staff said they would look into it, the court heard. An hour later his “status of sobriety had deteriorated” and he went back to the staff.

McDowall became “irate” and directed his anger at two female members of staff, Mackenzie said – threatening to kill them.

The police were called and they left Lerwick for Sella Ness, but McDowall had made his way to the town.

He was then traced in Lerwick, and was arrested before being taken to the town’s police station at around half past midnight.

“He was extremely belligerent to the police officer and aggressive throughout,” Mackenzie said.

When it become clear he was going to be locked in the cell McDowall said he had Covid symptoms.

This led to McDowall being put in a police vehicle in the yard, with officers wearing protective gear when attending to him.

McDowall was spitting, licking the windows and shouting “have my Covid”.

There was a further struggle with police officers later in the station, with his behaviour continuing for hours.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client was working at Sullom Voe at the time and had said some of his belongings had been stolen from his accommodation.

He was unhappy about how this was dealt with, the court heard.

Allan said McDowall regrets his behaviour and lost his job as a result.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said the offences were “absolutely dreadful” and deferred sentence until 11 May to allow a criminal justice social work report to be prepared.

Space2face

Space2face Shetland

Space2face Shetland is an independent and confidential service which uses Restorative Justice and the arts to bring those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. We enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

If you would like to reach out to us, please contact us via e-mail info@space2face.org or mobile 07564 832467.

If you would like to know more, visit our website www.space2face.org, or our Facebook page #space2faceshetland.


The project is also currently fundraising to secure office space in Shetland’s brand-new creativity and wellness centre, The Mission. If you’re interesting in getting involved, or making a donation, head over to www.space2face.org/how-you-can-help