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A Lochaber crofter who attacked and seriously injured an 83-year-old woman because she was going to help his elderly mother take down curtains, has been jailed for 15 months.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told that 50-year-old Colin Campbell, of Cuilcheanna, Onich, snapped when the woman’s latest offer of help was ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. She sustained multiple injuries including a broken arm and nose.
Defence solicitor Stephen Kennedy said his client felt the woman was ‘taking over responsibility for looking after his mother without being asked’.
‘There was an undercurrent between them, but that is no excuse. Each event was trivial but the combination of them led to him losing control. He couldn’t tolerate it any longer and he snapped.
‘He accepts she was well-meaning and immediately phoned the police and ambulance to get her assistance. He is ashamed of his actions.’
Despite Campbell’s role in looking after his 93-year old-parent, his croft with 14 cattle and a full time job, Sheriff Sara Matheson told him there was no alternative to custody.
‘In light of the age of the complainer, the level of violence in that you punched and kicked her on the ground and the injuries she sustained – a loss of teeth, a broken nose and arm and the lasting impact on her, no other sentence is appropriate.’
Fiscal depute Martina Eastwood said at an earlier hearing that first offender Campbell shouted at his victim: ‘Don’t be interfering with anything in this house.’ He then dragged her out on to the patio and assaulted her, the court was told.
The woman pleaded with Campbell’s mother to phone the police and when officers arrived, Campbell confessed to officers what he had done, Ms Eastwood added.
The prosecutor said Campbell was a crofting tenant who supported his mother and provided maintenance, transport and did shopping for her.
Sheriff Matheson heard that Mrs Campbell had wanted to remove the curtains and her neighbour offered to help.
Campbell told her not to do it but when the woman continued with her task, she was attacked, Ms Eastwood went on.
Campbell admitted assaulting the woman by seizing her by the neck, pushing her against a wall, causing her to fall to the ground and punching her on the head and body to her severe injury and impairment.
Ms Eastwood added: ‘She still suffers from restricted mobility.’
Inverness Sheriff Court sits at Inverness Justice Centre, pictured.