Highlands & Islands

Maryburgh man who beat partner with boot jailed

Aaron Urquhart Image copyright Copyline Scotland
Image caption Aaron Urquhart was "shocked and remorseful" about his behaviour, a court was told

A tree surgeon who beat his partner so severely with a boot that she thought she was going to die has been jailed for three years.

Aaron Urquhart, 40 and formerly of Maryburgh, near Dingwall, subjected the woman to a decade of abuse, Inverness Sheriff Court heard.

He had earlier admitted to assaulting Hannah Gradin on numerous occasions between July 2014 and July 2016.

Urquhart punched, slapped, kicked and head-butted her.

She was also struck with a boot causing her to vomit.

The court Ms Gradin was repeatedly struck on the head with the boot in an assault that lasted half an hour.

Fiscal depute Michelle Molley said Ms Gradin thought she would die.

'Alcohol abuse'

Urquhart also pleaded guilty to a charge that between 1 August 2015 and 2 August 2016 he was in illegal possession of a stun gun.

He admitted a further charge that he breached his bail condition by contacting his Swedish girlfriend by phone the day after he was granted bail at Inverness Sheriff Court on 1 August last year.

His solicitor advocate Shahid Latif told Sheriff Margaret Neilson that it was accepted a period of imprisonment was inevitable.

But he added: "When my client looks in his rear view mirror of his life, he is shocked and remorseful.

"There cannot be an excuse for his conduct. But there is an explanation. He was working in Sweden as an experienced tree surgeon which placed him under great stress and pressure.

"As a coping mechanism, he was drinking alcohol to excess. When he returned to this country, it all turned on its head as there was insufficient work and he again turned to alcohol.

"While in custody, he has embarked on the road to rehabilitation by participating in various programmes for domestic and alcohol abuse. These are important protective factors."

But Sheriff Neilson told Urquhart: "These are extremely serious charges which make unpleasant reading and give cause for concern."

She backdated the sentence to 12 August last year when Urquhart was first remanded.

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