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Inverness court told that man chased his former partner from the house


By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Sheriff Court.
Inverness Sheriff Court.

A man who left a young girl cowering behind a neighbour has escaped a jail sentence.

Martin Murray (40) admitted assaulting his former partner Andrea McFarlane in an incident in a block of flats in King Duncan’s Road, Inverness, on December 27 last year.

He has been in custody since January 6 and Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald decided he had served enough time.

Instead, she placed him under supervision for two years, and ordered him to take alcohol treatment and an abuse programme.

She also banned him from seeing or contacting his former partner for three years.

She told Murray: "This was alarming and violent behaviour towards a woman and child."

Sentence had been deferred for a background report.

At a previous hearing the court heard that the young girl witnessed Murray attacking Ms McFarlane, seizing her by the throat, compressing it to an extent she thought she was going to die, and chasing her out of her house in her bare feet.

Defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif appealed for his client to be given his liberty, adding that he had been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

"I don't intend to minimise the events of that night not does my client. There is an acknowledgement here of the impact of his behaviour on the two individuals and he has shown remorse and shame.

"This event is contrary to his character and there is no underlying pattern of this behaviour. He had begun drinking again and had been diagnosed with PTSD. It is now being managed with medication and he is coming to terms with his past. "

Fiscal depute Robert Weir told the court previously that Murray and Ms McFarlane had been at a party and had an argument in the taxi home.

“He got out and when Ms McFarlane got home she went to bed. But the kitchen window of the ground floor flat was left slightly ajar. Later that night, she was wakened by banging, got up and saw Murray in the hallway.

“He refused to leave and grabbed her throat in a headlock. She felt she was unable to breathe or shout or scream for help. She later stated that she believed she was dying.”

Mr Weir went on to say that Ms McFarlane tried to get out the kitchen window but was pulled back inside. Murray let her go but followed her and a little girl who was outside having been wakened by the noise.

An upstairs resident tried to intervene as the young girl “cowered in fear behind his legs saying Murray was trying to kill them”.

She eventually managed to escape by taxi as she was being allowed by Murray to return to her flat.

“As a result of the incident, Ms McFarlane suffered minor injuries to her feet running barefoot away from the flat,” Mr Weir said.

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