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Nairn businessman jailed after series of domestic abuse offences

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Sara Matheson heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Sara Matheson heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A Nairn businessman was jailed for 27 months after admitting a series of domestic abuse offences against his ex-wife.

Lee Macdonald and the woman ran Nairn Fuels but Inverness Sheriff Court heard that "contrasting opinions" on the direction of the business resulted in the relationship becoming "toxic".

The couple separated at the end of 2019.

Macdonald had already been convicted of domestic offences against the woman and had successfully completed a programme for abusers without further incident during the last four years.

The offences for which he previously pleaded guilty after changing his plea on the second day of his trial at the end of last year, pre-dated the other incidents.

Defence solicitor Graham Mann told Sheriff Sara Matheson that they only came to light when his former partner met him and his new partner after a chance encounter in February 2020.

The 41-year-old from Montrose Avenue, Auldearn, who was jailed for five years at the High Court several years ago for non-domestic violence, had hoped his business and the impact of custody on his employees may spare him prison.

Mr Mann provided letters from Macdonald's colleagues and said that they and their families relied upon him. "He is the only person with an HGV licence, organises everything."

But Sheriff Matheson told Macdonald: "There is no alternative to custody. You placed your hands round her neck and threw things at her."

She also imposed a supervised release order for a year and a non-harassment order to protect his ex-wife for six years.

Fiscal depute David Morton told the court when he tendered his guilty plea that the couple were at home on an occasion in 2011 when he pushed her on the body onto the bed.

"From June 2019 onwards matters escalated significantly," he said. "He assaulted her by placing his hands round her neck. On another occasion he propelled an ashtray towards her which smashed and caused her and the property to be covered in ash.

"During this period he repeatedly acted in an abusive manner, would shout and swear at her at home and their work. While at work he would deliberately damage office equipment and doors, and throw a fire extinguisher and other articles towards her.

"At home he would throw household items, mobile phones, foodstuffs and the like towards her as well as punching walls and doors."

Mr Morton added that the incidents continued in vehicles when he would seize her by the body and pull her out the door, shout and swear, pull a wing mirror from a work's van which she was in and park his vehicle at the yard entrance to seek to block her path.

"From January 2020, he would turn up unannounced and uninvited at her home address, ripped up photos and damage family pictures."

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