NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Woman admits petrol bomb threat against Elgin sheriff

Inverness Sheriff Court
Image caption The court heard that Stewart's comments were captured on CCTV

A teenager who claimed she was going to petrol bomb a sheriff's home has been detained for more than two years.

Stephanie Stewart, 19, made the threat against Sheriff Susan Raeburn, who presides over the court in Elgin, Moray.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard how Stewart had launched into a tirade of abuse before making the threat while in police cells.

She had been arrested for threatening behaviour at Dr Gray's Hospital.

Sentencing her to 26 months detention after she admitted two charges of threatening behaviour, Sheriff David Sutherland said: "This was an attack on our system of justice".

The case was called at Inverness Sheriff Court instead of Elgin due to potential conflicts of interest.

Depute fiscal Ian Smith said Stewart's comments to the sheriff were captured on CCTV.

After shouting abuse she said: "I will petrol bomb your house as soon as I get out."

The fiscal said Stewart, who was on bail at the time, had earlier been detained by police under the Misuse of Drugs Act in Elgin, but banged her head with force off the road surface.

She was taken to hospital where she became aggressive and threatening and had to have her legs placed in restraints.

Racial aggravation

Mr Smith said she then fell to the floor after slipping out of her handcuffs and started banging her head on the floor with force.

She was taken to Elgin Police Station and placed in a cell wearing an anti-suicide suit, when she made her threats against the sheriff.

The fiscal said she had been on bail at the time for an allegation of racial aggravation.

Defence lawyer James Mackay said his client had expressed "extreme remorse" on various occasions since the offences on 15 July.

He added that she felt physically sick when she hears the words she used in the police holding cell.

Mr Mackay said Stewart was unable to explain why she behaved the way she did, claiming her only appearance before Sheriff Raeburn in court resulted in her being admonished.

'Serious offence'

However, since being remanded in custody, he claimed the teenager had undergone detoxification and was a much healthier person.

The lawyer pleaded for Stewart, who wrote a letter of apology to the court, to be given a non-custodial sentence given her contrite remorse and the support of her family.

However, Sheriff David Sutherland told her: "We are proud of the emergency services offered to us by Accident and Emergency and anyone who behaves in this manner not only affects themselves but more importantly staff and other patients.

"Charge two is a very serious offence, made more so by the personal nature.

"Anyone who behaves like this knows they must face a lengthy period in prison. To make a threat to petrol bomb a sheriff is an attack on our system of justice."

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