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Curfew for Dingwall man involved in ‘brutal assault’ in Inverness

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Gary Aitken heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Gary Aitken heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A Dingwall man has avoided a jail sentence when he restrained one of his friends who had threatened to kill their victim.

Rhunne MacGregor, of Old Evanton Road, was one of three men who burst into an Inverness man's home and committed "a brutal and appalling attack" with a crowbar before trying to seriously assault Stephen Dick.

MacGregor was appearing for sentence before Sheriff Gary Aitken who had previously jailed Thomas Marello, of Fir Place, Inverness for 27 months and Corey MacLeod, of Galloway Drive, Inverness for two years.

Two men jailed after ‘brutal and appalling attack’ in Inverness

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The court heard that Marello was wearing a balaclava and had a hood over his head when he forced his way into Mr Dick's flat in Mackintosh Road, Inverness on the night of March 22, 2023.

MacLeod tried to seriously assault Mr Dick and threatened to kill him, before 26-year-old first offender MacGregor stepped in to pull him off.

Inverness Sheriff Court had previously been told that the incident began after Dick mistakenly called MacLeod's mother.

MacGregor punched Mr Dick in the face several times before Marello struck their victim on the thigh with a crowbar.

The court was told MacLeod then jumped on top of Mr Dick and repeatedly punched him on the face, before striking him with his knee in the face.

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh previously told the court: "Stephen Dick was crying and shouting that he couldn't breathe.

"MacGregor then grabbed MacLeod and pulled him off and pinned him to the floor preventing a further attack."

MacLeod was originally charged with the attempted murder of Mr Dick and he told officers: "I hope he dies wherever he is."

All three men admitted a charge of hamesucken - an ancient charge meaning forced entry to a property and then assaulting Mr Dick to his severe injury.

Marello admitted possessing two offensive weapons and MacLeod also pleaded guilty to a further charge of robbery.

Defending, Kevin Hughes said his client "had vulnerabilities" and had sought professional help for them. He appealed to the sheriff not to jail him.

"He was the person who removed his co-accused from the complainer to prevent more serious injury,” he said. "He was art and part in this offence and the decision he made that day was atrocious. He regrets his actions."

Sheriff Aitken placed MacGregor under social work supervision for two years and ordered him to carry out 210 hours of unpaid community work. He must also wear an electronic tag for nine months and remain in his home between 8pm and 7am for the same period.

This, he said, was an alternative to a prison sentence and warned MacGregor if he did not comply, he would be jailed for a similar period as his co-accused.

He told MacGregor: "This offence was extremely serious. It could have ended up an awful lot worse that it did.

"The only thing keeping you from a prison sentence is that at least in the course of this brutal assault, the penny seemed to drop for you and you did something about it."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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