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COURT ROUND-UP: Rapists jailed and drink-driver caught while banned among last month's Inverness court business

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Sheriff Court saw a huge mix of criminal business in April.

Here's our recap of some of the cases that made the headlines last month.

Joshua Pemberton was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.
Joshua Pemberton was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

A convicted sex offender who pretended to be a teenage boy before blackmailing and raping a young girl has been jailed for eight years.

Joshua Pemberton struck in January 2022 having earlier been freed from jail.

The 26-year-old, from Inverness, had initially contacted the victim on social media while claiming to be just 14.

READ MORE: Inverness predator jailed for rape of 13-year-old and other sexual offences

A drug trafficking rapist who preyed on teenage girls in sex attacks has been jailed for 11 years.

Adam Pentacost (34) used force to commit a series of rapes involving two much younger victims during assaults in Inverness.

A judge told Pentacost at the High Court in Edinburgh: "Your conduct was predatory with significant elements of planning on your part."

READ MORE: 11-year sentence for rapist who attacked two girls in Inverness

Two teenagers were assaulted after a man objected to what he thought were derogatory remarks about his girlfriend.

The incident happened in the evening of November 17, 2023 in the centre of Nairn on High Street and Bridge Street as Patrick Muldoon (23) and his companion walked past a group of youngsters.

READ MORE: Nairn teenagers assaulted in row over remarks, Inverness court told

A supermarket store employee was hit over the head with one of two bottles of alcohol after he suspected a man of trying to steal them.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that Paul Connor (41) of Knocknagael, had gone into the Spar shop in Culduthel Road, Inverness on Monday, April 22 about 3pm and picked up two bottles of whisky.

READ MORE: Inverness shop worker hit on head with bottle of alcohol

Marina Khotkina appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Marina Khotkina appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A 56-year-old Highland woman has admitted her second drink-drive conviction in little over a year.

Marina Khotkina, of Raven Croft, Culbokie pleaded guilty at Inverness Sheriff Court to driving with over four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system.

READ MORE: Highland drink-driver caught again 2 weeks after getting driving ban

An American citizen will stand trial accused of killing two adults and a toddler in a car crash on the A9.

Paul Gillcrist, 68, allegedly took the lives of Inverness residents David McPherson, 68, Elza McPherson, 64, and two-year-old Harris Cochrane on the A9 near Carrbridge on July 5 2022.

Court papers state that Gillcrist, of North Carolina, USA, was behind the wheel of a Mercedes CLA which he allegedly drove dangerously.

READ MORE: USA citizen to stand trial accused of killing two Inverness adults and a toddler in crash on A9 near Carrbridge after not guilty plea at High Court in Glasgow

A woman was attacked by her drunk partner as she drove him back to a Highlands hotel to meet friends.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that 55 year old Duncan Mackenzie of Assynt Road, Inverness, punched the woman on the face and arm and tried to get control of the steering wheel.

READ MORE: Drunk Inverness man punched woman in face whilst she was driving

Police chased a man they wanted to interview and when they caught up with him, spittle landed on an officer's face during a struggle.

Ryan Findlay, a 28-year-old from Parbrook Road, Huyton in Liverpool appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted culpably and recklessly spitting which took place in Queen Street, Inverness on February 27 last year.

READ MORE: Liverpool man fell when trying to climb fence while chased by Inverness police

A 56-year-old man claimed to police his life had been threatened by youths so he was arming himself with knives for protection.

Alan Craig, of Muirtown Street, Inverness contacted the police on December 15, 2023 and arranged to meet officers in Baron Taylor's Street.

READ MORE: Man found with fake handgun in Inverness told police he was arming himself for protection

A prisoner at Inverness became frustrated in his cell and smashed it up, causing £2000 worth of damage.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that the incident happened on January 29, 2023 and 40-year-old Charles MacLennan's cell was out of service for a time afterwards.

READ MORE: Dingwall man jailed for smashing up Inverness prison cell

A teenager from Merseyside was arrested in Inverness whilst in possession of Class A drugs worth over £4500 and £1000 in cash.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that police raided a house in Esk Road on April 6, 2023 and found 19-year-old Peter Dunn, of Bowland Drive, Litherland, sleeping on the couch.

READ MORE: Merseyside teenager had drugs and crossbow in Inverness

A 15-year-old boy was headbutted on the nose at a Highland music festival by a drunk man upset at the teenager littering the venue.

But Inverness Sheriff Court heard that the youngster had thrown an empty coffee cup aiming at the litter bin in Belladrum, near Beauly on July 29, last year but missed.

READ MORE: Teen (15) headbutted for littering at Belladrum festival

A former University Challenge contestant who was branded a “nasty, perverted little spider” by a sheriff has won his bid to have his sex crimes convictions quashed.

Prosecutors claimed Andrew Newton (31) sent indecent messages to females as young as 12 and attempted to persuade to meet him for sex, jurors at Inverness Sheriff Court heard.

READ MORE: Man wins bid to have sex crimes convictions quashed

A vulnerable woman who got involved with Liverpool drug dealers for fear of her and her family being murdered was warned she would be jailed if she did it again.

Stephanie Lewicki, of Galloway Drive, Inverness was appearing before Sheriff Neil Wilson for sentence on two indictments she admitted involving possessing drugs and supplying them after a background report had been prepared.

READ MORE: Inverness woman took drugs ‘so my family wouldn't be murdered’

An amicable split turned nasty after a couple agreed to meet in an Inverness city centre pub.

Liam Sangster was invited to join his ex-partner of seven years at the Highlander Bar, in Church Street, on October 20, 2023 despite having split two weeks earlier.

READ MORE: Man smashed Inverness pub window after ex told him to ‘move on’

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the death of an Inverness nursery teacher is likely to open in the city in early November, five years after the tragedy.

Chloe Morrison was 26 years old when she was struck by an unsecured stabiliser arm jutting from a passing truck in Drumnadrochit on October 25, 2019.

READ MORE: November date is likely for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into death of Inverness nursery teacher five years ago

An Inverness man who "struggles on a daily basis" with drugs has been banned from driving for three years by a sheriff.

Andrew Bell, a 41-year-old of Milton Crescent, appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted driving with cocaine in his system.

READ MORE: Inverness drug-driver gets three-year driving ban

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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