'No lame excuses' sheriff warns prisoner who ran amok in Wick town centre
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A man who ran amok in Wick and put a police officer at risk of catching Covid by spitting in his face has avoided a jail sentence.
Sheriff Andrew Berry described Eddie Macgregor's extraordinary actions as 'shocking' and 'disgraceful' which could easily have warranted "a substantial custodial sentence".
The sheriff, who imposed a sentence of supervision and unpaid work, warned Macgregor that nothing but complete co-operation with social workers would save him from prison.
Drink-fuelled Macgregor's catalogue of offences, which he admitted on indictment, previously, occurred within a 24-hour period in Wick.
In two separate incidents, the 28-year-old incurred five charges of assault – four of them against police officers and one against a pedestrian -– causing damage, and shouting and swearing.
Fiscal David Barclay told the court that the attention of the police was drawn to Macgregor in High Street, Wick, on September 26. He appeared to be intoxicated and the officers wanted to make sure he was okay.
As they approached, Macgregor made his way to the Highland Hospice shop where he smashed a glass panel in a door.
The accused then ran off and as he was passing a group of women he threw a remote control at one of them, striking her on her head.
The police pursued Macgregor and found him trying to hide in Market Square. When the officers tried to arrest him, the accused lashed out, repeatedly kicking Constables Lee Milner and Stephen George.
Macgregor shouted and swore and repeatedly gestured he was going to spit at them but didn't actually do so.
Mr Barclay said that Macgregor was apprehended but was subsequently released. Later the same day, however, the police were tasked to Ashley Court where they observed Macgregor in an intoxicated state.
He was one of a group advised to go home but he reacted badly to the advice and shouted and swore at the officers before making his way to the unmarked police car and shouting "I may have Covid" and spat on the bonnet and the windscreen.
Then Macgregor, who had to isolate twice previously due to Covid connections, lashed out at Constables Jonathon Wilkin and Rebecca Davies, kicking them and shouting and swearing at them before turning to Constable Jake MacLeod and spitting in his face.
Macgregor appeared for sentence on Wednesday, via a video link with the prison where he has been on remand for the past three months.
His solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that the accused had had plenty of time to reflect on what he had done and would welcome the opportunity of a non-custodial option.
Sheriff Berry told Macgregor: "Let me make this absolutely clear. Your catalogue of offences was disgraceful. After the first episode, you were released on trust and then committed a second series of offences all within a 24-hour period. That would richly merit a substantial prison sentence."
However, the sheriff said he was duty-bound to consider whether there was an alternative option and continued: "I am satisfied, with some hesitation, that there is. But, you have let down your mother, your daughter and your football teammates whom I assume have a high regard for you as a player."
Macgregor was made subject to supervision for two years and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Sheriff Berry, who took into account the time Macgregor had spent on remand, said that the accused must work with social workers and not be under the influence of anything when he met them.
The sheriff told Macgregor, a fisherman: "Lame excuses such as you were abducted by a passing trawler or that a freak wave caused the bus who were travelling on to break down, will not be tolerated. The first sign of failure to co-operate with the social workers, will be reported to me as a breach and it is highly likely you will be sent to prison. Do you understand?"
Macgregor, described as a prisoner at Inverness Prison, replied: "Yes sir".