View Full Version : Death of friend triggered emotional upset

17-Feb-14, 18:06
Accused jailed for 18 months for knife disturbance in Lybster bar
AN intoxicated young man who lost the plot in a village pub had a knife and threatened to kill himself so he could join his friend found dead on a beach in the area last year.
Angus Cormack eventually left the pub at the Bayview Hotel in Lybster, after causing a disturbance, but was traced by police and arrested.
The 26-year-old who was said to have been under emotional stress over the loss of his friend, Stefan Sutherland, admitted on indictment, a reduced charge of threatening or abusive behaviour, at Wick Sheriff Court, today, and was jailed for 18 months.
The court was told that Cormack appeared to have difficulty in walking, his words were slurred and he was “clearly intoxicated” when he entered the bar around 10.30pm, on November 13, last year.
David Barclay, prosecuting, said that the accused seemed to be “emotional and upset” at the death of one of his friends. Cormack had a bottle of Buckfast with him and shouted and swore.
Mr Barclay added: “It appeared to witnesses that this played a significant part in the accused’s behaviour. The police indicated that, while there was no excuse for it, it appeared that his conduct was an adverse reaction to the loss of his friend, rather than a single-minded intention to cause trouble.”
(Mr Sutherland’s body was found on the shoreline at Occumster, north of Lybster, more than four months ago. Although police said there were no suspicious circumstances at the time, the family made a direct appeal to the public for any clues that might explain what had led to the 25-year-old’s death).
Cormack left the bar briefly and was heard banging on the doors and windows of the premises, demanding to be allowed to return.
David Barclay, prosecuting said that Cormack took a decision to go back in and customers saw him produce a knife and stick it in one of the tables.
Mr Barclay went on: “He continued to shout and make a nuisance of himself saying he was going to smash up the bar and punch people.” The police were informed and caught up with Cormack who had left the bar.
The senior fiscal depute added: “Clearly, any incident involving a knife in licensed premises adds to the seriousness of the matter although it is clear that Cormack was making a gesture with the knife rather than threatening to use it on anyone. The accused made comments at the beginning of the incident about self-harming and that potentially he could go and kill himself and meet up with his friend again.”
Solicitor Laura-Jane Macnaughton said that the accused’s recollection of events was “not great” as drink had played “a big role” in them. She said his family knew he was drinking because of the death of his close friend but Cormack accepted that this was “no excuse”.
Ms Macnaughton added: “He had no intention of causing anyone harm and was probably a greater risk to himself. He should have been aware that drinking under the circumstances was potentially a very dangerous mix.. He regrets his actions and apologises to everyone concerned.”
Sentencing Cormack, whose address was given as Low Moss Prison, Sheriff Andrew Berry said that he took into account that the accused had accepted responsibility for his actions and that he had been “in an emotionally distressed state”.
But the sheriff added that he had to consider other aspects such as the public interest and Cormack's record, adding: “There can be nothing more fearful than an intoxicated young man in licensed or any other public place, with a knife.”
The knife was ordered to be forfeit.