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Flashers, blowtorch threats, pills in prams and squidgy poos — Angus and North East Fife court year in review

Angus and North East Fife court year review graphic

Throughout 2021, the Scottish judiciary has been kept more than busy in Angus.

Our dedicated team of court reporters have picked up the most important – and the most bizarre – cases from the county.

And below that, we round up the action from north east Fife, with cases heard at Dundee Sheriff Court since the courthouse in Cupar closed.

Without any further ado, here’s our picks for the Angus must-reads this year.

Grab yourself a Smokie, or a bridie and get stuck in.

Castle creep

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, pled guilty to attacking a woman at Glamis Castle.

He was jailed for 10 months by Sheriff George Way for sexually assaulting the woman at the room in which she was staying.

However, Bowes-Lyon – the son of one of The Queen’s cousins – was released from prison early.

Simon Bowes-Lyon
Simon Bowes-Lyon.


Armed robber Kenneth Tough told police “it wasn’t his first rodeo” when he was arrested trying to hold up an Arbroath convenience store.

The 33-year-old won’t be attending any foreseeable rodeos, however, as Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed him for 22 months in August.

Even Tough’s solicitor labelled his client’s failed raid at Sam’s Store to be a “hare-brained idea.”

Squidgy poos

Arbroath’s Nickel & Dime store was fined after council investigators found the firm to be stocking hundreds of undocumented items.

Boss Kaleem Ahmed and his company were both brought to justice at Forfar Sheriff Court after it was found the businessman’s High Street shelves were laden with non-compliant electricals, toys and “squidgy poos.”

Legal professionals noted how rarely Trading Standards raids were prosecuted but Angus Council said its “long and complex investigation” uncovered 500 items which weren’t fit for sale.

Both Ahmed and his company found themselves hundreds of pounds out of pocket as a result.

Goods seized from Arbroath Nickel and Dime
Goods seized from Arbroath Nickel and Dime.

Tragedy in the glens

The family of a teenage student Thomas Hill, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in an Angus holiday cottage heard a “series of failures” led to his death.

The 18-year-old died after being exposed to the gas in the bathroom of remote Glenmark Cottage, near Glenesk, in October 2015.

Six years on, the property’s landlord was finally brought to court.

The cottage is owned by Burghill Farms, a partnership which, at the time of Mr Hill’s death, was run by the Earl and Countess of Dalhousie with their son Simon Ramsay, Lord Ramsay. The property was sub-let and run by Piers Le Cheminant.

Burghill Farms was fined £120,000 while 76-year-old Le Cheminant, was fined £2,000 for breaches of gas safety and health and safety regulations.

Tom HIll (left), Simon, Lord Ramsey (no mask), Piers Le Chaminant (masked), Glenmark Cottage.
Tom Hill (left), Simon, Lord Ramsey (no mask), Piers Le Chaminant (masked), Glenmark Cottage.

Tracked parcels

Lewis Webster was jailed after shipping tens of thousands of pounds worth of Ecstasy tablets into Scotland through a Dutch pram company.

The 22-year-old’s illicit enterprise was foiled by border force workers at Heathrow Airport who detected the haul of MDMA and crystals.

Webster was jailed for 45 months by Sheriff McFarlane.

Christmas chaos

Liam Pytlak was caged at Dundee Sheriff Court after he pled guilty to abusive behaviour, attempted theft, theft, assault and making racist remarks.

Last Christmas, the scaffolder began throwing food items around while calling his partner derogatory names, before asking officers which one wanted bottled first.

Later in 2021, he raided both a home and a vehicle before spouting racist bile at a shopkeeper. He was jailed.

Liam Pytlak.

Farmworker fracas

A pair of Angus farm workers were locked up after subjecting a man to a brutal assault which left him needing four metal plates inserted into his head.

Rory Scrymgeour, 25, and Steven Anderson, 26, targeted Christopher George outside the Airlie Arms Hotel in Kirriemuir, leaving him with a broken nose and fractured eye socket and cheekbone.

The pair were sentenced to 18 months in prison, despite offering to cough up compensation for their permanently disfigured victim.

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


Sentence slammed

Scott Fairweather had his sentence successfully appealed after he left Rachel Ward fighting for her life when he failed to stop at a red light.

Miss Ward spent a fortnight in Ninewells Hospital with a collapsed lung and broken pelvis and now suffers from a heart murmur following the high speed crash in Forfar.

She says she is “gutted” Fairweather managed to have his 40-month sentence in prison cut.

Drug peddling DJ

DJ Bracken Piggot was sentenced to 14 months behind bars after being found to be running a cannabis operation from an Angus hotel.

More than £16,000 in cash was discovered at the Dalhousie Hotel in Carnoustie where he stayed and worked.

The Distorted Euphoria boss also was found to have drug paraphernalia and tick lists at the hub of his criminal enterprise.

Multi-national criminal

Drunken Marcin Madraszek clambered through an open top floor window to try to rob a Forfar flat.

But the inebriated intruder woke up its resident, who was left screaming.

Marcin Madraszek
Marcin Madraszek was caught in the bedroom in the middle of the night.

Madraszek can add Scotland to his passport of convictions, with stamps from the judiciaries of Poland and the Netherlands already in the bank.

Rogues, robbers, motoring madness and a knobkerrie — The year in review in Fife’s sheriff courts

North East Fife

Air BnB flasher

Former surgeon Christopher Oliver flashed a family staying in the Airbnb next door to his home.

The 60-year-old shouted “can you see all this?” after exposing himself during the bizarre incident in Cellardyke.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told how the episode was the result of a long-running planning dispute over the legality of his neighbour’s balcony in the town’s George Street.

Sheriff Alison Michie said: “It’s clear you have had a very distinguished career as a surgeon and made a valuable contribution to society.

“That background makes it all more difficult to understand the commission of the offence.”

Christopher Oliver
Dr Christopher Oliver

Foster carer jailed

Foster carer Rachel Lessels was jailed after being found guilty of abusing three youngsters at her former home on School Brae, Letham, Fife, between 2006 and 2009.

The 72-year-old wept as she was sent to prison for the crimes she continued to deny, including forcing two of her victims to eat their own vomit.

Sheriff Paul Brown told her they had been “grave offences against defenceless children in your care.”

Rebecca Lessels was found guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Blowtorch threat

A neighbour dispute blew up in Freuchie when Hugh Vinning doused a rival in petrol and threatened him with a blowtorch.

Vinning said he would set David Harrison on fire during the heated argument over parking last summer.

Vinning, 57, said: “I’m going to set you on fire,” after throwing petrol for a lawnmower on Mr Harrison, while clutching a blowtorch in his other hand.

The first offender told the court he believed Mr Harrison, the son of his next-door neighbour, was going to kill him with a brick he was holding above his head.

Freuchie sign, Hugh Vinning
Hugh Vinning threatened to set fire to David Harrison during the heated argument in Freuchie.

Crooked major

Timothy Grantham, a crooked charity worker who embezzled more than £160,000 from his elderly mother-in-law was jailed.

The Crown is now trying to recover the ill-gotten gains from the former Army major, who was described as a “thoroughly dishonest person”.

The money had been gambled away at a Dundee casino, he claims, although this is now being investigated.

Timothy Grantham
Timothy Grantham

Hit and run death

In May, the family of Fife cyclist Scott Walker said “justice has not been done”, after the Dundee pensioner who killed him in a hit and run was given an unpaid work order instead of prison time.

Ian McFarlane drove off after striking Mr Walker on the A917 Elie to St Monans road.

As police appealed publicly for help tracing the car which was in the accident, McFarlane took it to garages in Dundee for repairs to bumps and scrapes.

He said he was going to hand himself in after the car was fixed.

Ian McFarlane and Scott Walker
Ian McFarlane, left, hit cyclist Scott Walker, right, then drove away.

Racist post

Convicted racist Jordan McGhie sparked national fury after uploading a picture that showed him kneeling on a friend’s neck in the wake of George Floyd’s death in America.

Mocking the death, which sparked a wave of Black Lives Matters protests around the world, McGhie captioned the image: “George Floyd Challenge 2020. Raise awareness.”

It was reported and McGhie admitted posting a racist and offensive image on social media from an address in Cupar.

He has since told how he was forced to move home due to the backlash.

Jordan McGhie
Jordan McGhie in the George Floyd death ‘challenge’ picture.

That’s it for 2021. There will be much. much more to come in 2022 so keep following the Courier’s Crime and Courts Team.

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


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