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Stalkers, gamblers, sudden deaths and a pie fight — the year in review in Dundee Sheriff Court

Dundee Seriff Court year review graphic

2021 may have a been a Covid-disrupted year of chaos in many sectors but the wheels of justice continued to roll across Scotland.

Our dedicated team of court reporters were in the privileged position of being allowed into the sheriff and high courts.

Judges, sheriffs and juries are there to ensure justice is done and as the eyes and ears of the public, we ensured justice was seen to be done.

Here, we take a look back at the cases involving Dundee’s criminal fraternity.

So start clicking the links but not before you’ve grabbed a cuppa – you could be here some time…

Dispute resolution, Dundee-style

Unfortunately, when tempers fray, swinging fists and weapons come too handily to bear.

Jennifer Whyte and David Donald took retribution on a man who changed his mind about paying for Whyte’s “best girlfriend experience ever” escort service.

Hooded and scarf-clad Donald forced their victim to transfer money into his bank account they made off in the man’s BMW, which they abandoned nearby.

Donald was jailed and Whyte remains on a structured deferred sentence.

David Donald, Jennifer Whyte
David Donald and Jennifer Whyte stole a BMW.

After an argument featuring his daughter and son-in-law, vengeful father Stephen Keen doused the man in a liquid and seemed about to set fire to him.

Keen forced Stephen Saint to his knees and made him beg for forgiveness while his wife filmed them on a mobile phone.

When he was quizzed by police, Keen said: “I’m guilty. Someone hits my daughter, I’ll hit them.”

The 62-year-old cleaning company owner was placed on a curfew.

Stephen Keen
Stephen Keen.

Broughty Ferry pub boss Jeff Stewart was spared prison despite throttling a woman as she lay in bed and sending her a string of abusive messages over a five-month period.

The owner of The Anchor bar, who already had a domestic abuse conviction, blamed the strain of lockdown on his business for his actions.

Jeff Stewart
Jeff Stewart runs The Anchor on Gray Street, Broughty Ferry

Former Dundee FC player John Carling was back in court in June for attempting to strike his neighbour with a baseball bat in a long-running dispute.

The 46-year-old, who was also on the books of Arbroath FC, also struggled with police.

John Carling
John Carling admitted trying to attack a neighbour with a baseball bat.

Gambling with freedom

What’s yours is mine, according to some, especially if it pays off gambling debts.

Former Dundee and Scotland under-21 international goalkeeper Grant Adam was jailed for stealing money from his grandfather.

Adam, 30, admitted pocketing the cash from 78-year-old Charles Adam’s Post Office account.

He had power of attorney over his elderly relative’s affairs at the time.

It was revealed how Adam had been struggling with a gambling addiction and substance misuse at the time of the offence.

Grant Adam
Grant Adam

The manager of the Nethergate branch of Dr Noodles takeaway in Dundee was jailed for helping herself to nearly £50,000 to fund a lifestyle “well above her means”.

The court heard how 29-year-old Jade Gibson was caught when staff became concerned by the number of cancelled orders being processed on days she was working.

Gibson was finally dealt with after repeatedly failing to appear for court hearings.

Jade Gibson, Dr Noodles
Jade Gibson was manager at Dr Noodles in Dundee

The Courier’s long investigation into apparent dodgy dealings at a Dundee City Council department led to court with the conviction of Iain Gardyne.

The former Dundee City Council supervisor stole thousands of pounds worth of smoke alarms and sensors and flogged them on eBay to help clear his gambling debts.

The court was told how a fraud investigation was launched after the council was alerted to Gardyne’s eBay account by a Courier reporter.

The department where Gardyne was employed as an electrical supervisor has been at the centre of a major corporate fraud investigation after a contract to provide heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors was awarded without ever going out to tender.

Iain Gardyne
Iain Gardyne at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Baker Moira Coughlin embezzled £12,000 from the Tayberry social enterprise company.

She was placed on curfew but with allowances made for treatment for her gambling addiction, for which she had been taking the money.

Moira Coughlin
Moira Coughlin arrives at Dundee Sheriff Court

Sudden deaths

The city has been rocked by several sudden deaths which have become murder probes.

Andrew Innes is due to return to court next month for the alleged murder of Bennylyn Burke and her toddler daughter Jellica at his home in the city’s Troon Avenue.

It is alleged he stabbed and bludgeoned the 25-year-old to death with a hammer and asphyxiated the youngster.

Innes faces a slew of other charges and has made no plea.

Bennylyn Burke and her daughter Jellica
Bennylyn Burke and her daughter Jellica.

Michael King, 27, and Thomas Henderson, 30 are alleged to have murdered Lee Small by punching him repeatedly, before stabbing him in the neck in the Douglas area of the city on September 8.

They have made no plea and a trial date is yet to be set.

Lee Small
Lee Small.

Kenneth Melville allegedly murdered 47-year-old Yvonne Barr at an address on Aboyne Avenue on Bonfire Night.

He has been ordered to stand trial at a later date.

Perverts and paedophiles

Unfortunately the flood of sex offenders flowing through the courts shows no sign of easing. It’s the grimmest – but one of the most important – aspects of our work.

Snapchat creep Jason O’Neil avoided prison despite filming a woman engaged in a sex act and sending the footage to her friends and family.

The 27-year-old’s “appalling breach of trust” was punished with unpaid work, supervision and three years on the Sex Offenders Register.

Jason O'Neil, Snapchat logo
Jason O’Neil used Snapchat to send the video.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Dundee takeaway boss Ghulam Bajwa was jailed for the years of abuse and rape of a small girl and boy.

The unrepentant fiend continues to deny his crimes.

His solicitor said: “He has no sympathy for the complainers in this case because he denies the charges – it would be hypocritical for him to express sympathy.

“It would be akin to a politician’s apology that something they said upset you, rather than sorry they upset you.”

The boss of the Curryummy takeaway in the Hilltown was jailed for 12 years.

Ghulam Bajwa, Edinburgh High Court
Ghulam Bajwa was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Also at the High Court, Michael Waribo, 49 was jailed for 11 years for attacking young girls for almost a decade.

The serial rapist told one of his victims he had a mystery disease and would die if she did not have sex with him.

Michael Waribo
Michael Waribo

Another to abuse his position of trust was teacher and football scout Stephen Lavery, who systematically sexually abused primary school pupils over a five-year period.

Lavery was described as “abhorrent” by a sheriff who noted the devastating effect on his victims.

The retired 70-year-old was jailed for two years.

Stephen Lavery
Paedophile former head teacher Stephen Lavery.

Predator Roderick Beaumont fled to Mexico instead of facing up to his crimes in 2016.

He was eventually returned to Scotland in 2019 after marrying and working as a life coach specialising in “youth impact coaching” in central America.

The registered sex offender was sentenced to 12 months in prison after he admitted breaching the terms of his registration by failing to tell police about his travel plans.

Roderick Beaumont
Roderick Beaumont fled to Mexico.

The best of the rest

Some crimes just defy categorisation.

Reece Savery displayed some less than savoury behaviour over a savoury snack. 

The 28-year-old challenged a shopkeeper to a fight after claiming he had fallen ill due to a dodgy pie bought at his shop.

Reece Savery, Haldane Stores
Reece Savery and Haldane Stores, where he threatened a shopkeeper.

Of all the ways to smuggle a weapon in prison, John McCormack chose the most potentially painful.

The 35-year-old was found with a shank between his buttocks in Perth Prison.

The sharpened plastic device was found while McCormack served a five-year spell for a slashing in Glasgow. He claimed his life had been threatened behind bars.

John McCormack
John McCormack outside Dundee Sheriff Court

Kelsie Harper hit the headlines when she stabbed her boyfriend in a row over a blaring television.

As the argument escalated and the man tried to leave the flat, Harper stabbed him in the back, luckily through a rucksack so no lasting damage was done

Kelsie Harper
Kelsie Harper

A five-day crime spree by Guy Weston and Natalie Hawes ended in prison for the couple.

An NHS nurse and an elderly couple were among those targeted as Weston and Hawes stole cars, jewellery and electrical devices across Tayside.

Weston, 38, led police on a chase in a stolen Vauxhall Corsa across the Kingsway, before dumping the car in Errol as their run came to an end.

Guy Weston and Natalie Hawes
Guy Weston and Natalie Hawes.

Drug dealer James Drinnan stopped traffic when he was found slumped at the wheel of his car at lights in Dundee.

The 32-year-old was found to be almost nine times over the legal limit for crack cocaine when he was caught holding up traffic on Main Street.

More than £1,000 worth of heroin and a lock knife were found in his car.

James Drinnan
James Drinnan.

And finally, spurned stalker Bea Burgyan took revenge on the married man with whom she had started a relationship.

She placed a tracker on his car, took pictures of his home in Dundee and sent a sex video to his wife.

She was made the subject of a non-harassment order.

Bea Burgyan
Bea Burgyan at Dundee Sheriff Court.

The full caseload of the Dundee Crime and Courts Team can be found here.

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