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Court / Man admits sexual offence on ferry to Aberdeen

SENTENCE has been deferred on a man who admitted carrying out a sexual assault on another passenger on the NorthLink ferry.

Andrew McNab, of Yell, appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday to admit carrying out the offence on 2 August last year on the ferry between Shetland and Aberdeen.

The charge stated that the 62-year-old sexually assaulted the fellow passenger by laying on top of him, repeatedly touching and stroking his back and legs without his consent, and placing his head on his legs.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the complainer in the case was a 17-year-old who got into conversation with McNab in the front lounge of the boat.

They both attended the smoking area before the teenager told McNab that were some people in the bar who had made him uncomfortable.

McNab then offered to remain with the teenager for the rest of the journey, and also offered up some vodka which they both drank.

Mackenzie said the incident in question happened at around 1am when the complainer lay down on the floor in a sleeping bag. The court heard that McNab lay beside him, wrapped his arms around him and stroked his back.

This made the complainer feel uncomfortable, but “he did not know how to assert himself to convey that discomfort”.

The complainer went to the smoking deck to get away and when he returned he went to sleep on the chairs.

The court heard that McNab then followed him to the chairs and then asked if he would lie on his legs. This gained no response from the complainer, who lay down and attempted to go to sleep.

The court heard that McNab then lay down and placed his head on the teenager’s legs. Mackenzie said the complainer wanted to move his legs away “but by this time he was in a state of fear”.

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The accused then moved further up the complainer’s legs, and due to the weight the 17-year-old was unable to move his body.

McNab then stroked the teenager’s hand, back and leg, and continued to stroke his leg up the thigh area.

The 62-year-old took a hold of the other passenger’s hand but he pulled it away, and he then fell asleep.

The complainer sent a message to his foster mother, who was not on board the ferry, and told her what had happened.

Through this the police were informed and officers were waiting to arrest McNab when the ferry docked in Aberdeen later in the morning.

In the meantime the complainer had asked a fellow passenger to alert a member of staff, who attended and managed to remove McNab from him. The man was then moved to a different area of the boat.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank adjourned the case until 8 May for the preparation of a criminal justice social work report, with mitigation due to be provided on that date.

McNab was also placed under notification requirements of the sexual offences act.

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