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Gairloch pensioner who stabbed his friend spared a jail sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Sheriff Court.
Inverness Sheriff Court.

Social workers suggested their intervention would not help the former gamekeeper, but a sheriff disagreed.

Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald imposed two years of supervision plus alcohol treatment for the same period as an alternative to custody.

She told Duncan Mackenzie (71): "Alcohol is a significant problem for you.

"I could sentence you to a period of prison.

"You have pleaded guilty to stabbing your friend in the neck to the danger of his life.

"Fortunately for you and your friend the wound was not deep and did not require stitches."

She also banned Mackenzie, of Burnside Terrace, Gairloch, from seeing his friend, Andrew Davies, or entering his home next door.

Sentence had been deferred last month for a background report.

Defence solicitor Duncan Henderson said his client was not in good health.

He added: "This is his third crime involving alcohol and he has an ongoing problem, but he has now sought help."

Inverness Sheriff Court was previously told that on January 25 this year, Mackenzie asked Mr Davies to get him a bottle of whisky while he was at the local shop.

Mr Davies returned to Mackenzie's home and they spent the rest of the day and evening drinking the spirit and tins of cider.

However, fiscal depute Robert Weir told Sheriff Macdonald that around midnight the pair had an argument in the one-bed council property and exchanged heated words.

"During the altercation, Mackenzie made his way through to his bedroom before returning with a 'Commando' style knife," he said.

"He then put the knife to Mr Davies's throat. Mr Davies said: 'You won't do it, you are all mouth, you.'

"At this point, Mackenzie stabbed him once to the front centre of his neck.

"Realising he was bleeding, Mr Davies immediately used his mobile phone to dial 999 while Mackenzie sat back in a chair.

"Mr Davies was advised to apply pressure to the wound."

Mr Weir said that an ambulance arrived about 12.30 am.

"Mr Davies was conscious and breathing and holding a heavily bloodstained towel to his neck," he said.

The court was told that when police arrived at Mackenzie's house he claimed Mr Davies had arrived injured at his door.

But police saw blood on the carpet and Mackenzie was arrested.

The knife was found hidden in a Wellington boot.

Mr Davies sustained a 2cm-wide wound but it did not require stitching, although a vein had been cut.

Mackenzie admitted assault to injury and danger of life.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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