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Angus man who triggered brief manhunt with courtroom dash fails to evade jail again

Munro appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court.
Munro appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court.

Justice has finally caught up with a man who leaped out of the dock for 15 minutes of freedom in a dash to an Angus supermarket.

Almost two years after sparking a manhunt when he fled Forfar Sheriff Court after being given a 100-day jail term, John Crombie has been ordered to spend seven months behind bars in light of his “horrific” record of offending over quarter of a century.

In October 2018, Crombie triggered a police hunt when he managed to avoid capture by court security and police officers after running from the courtroom.

He made his bid for freedom seconds after being told he was going to custody for posting threatening messages to his ex-partner on Facebook.

Runaway Crombie was at large for just quarter of an hour before police collared him at the town’s Tesco store, just a few hundred yards away.

On Thursday, the 43-year-old returned to the dock before the same sheriff from whom he did a runner and was told there was no dodging prison this time.

Crombie, of Inveraldie Crescent, Tealing admitted absconding from the court in what his lawyer described as “very poor consequential thinking”.

Solcitor Gary Foulis added: “He accepts on reflection it was very much the wrong thing to do.

“He wants to be able to put himself in a position to help the family unit and he knows he has put himself in a very serious position.”

He said his client was subject to a community payback order, due to finish in December.

Crombie had previously admitted posting what were described as “sinister” messages on social media and making threats of violence to his former partner in September 2018.

In one Facebook message he warned the woman the “gloves were off” and “we will see how funny it is when half of Forfar is on fire”.

Sheriff Murray told Crombie he was the “author of his own misfortune” after taking the decision to bolt from the courtroom.

He said: “I accept it was a decision taken on the spur of the moment, but it was a decision you took deliberately.

“It is aggravated by the fact it took place in this very courtroom.

“You have a horrific record over 25 years. It is vital public confidence in the administration of justice is maintained and there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”

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