Sullom worker caught on CCTV assaulting woman

A SULLOM VOE worker who was caught on CCTV committing a serious assault on a woman after the two had been drinking heavily on a birthday bus was remanded in custody when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday.

John Blakely, 41, who gave his address as the Brae Hotel, admitted assaulting the victim in the stock room of the Mid Brae Inn on Saturday by grabbing her by the hair, pulling her to the floor and kicking and punching her on the head.

The court was shown the closed-circuit footage of the incident and heard that Blakely, who has worked as a sprayer and blaster at Sullom Voe Oil Terminal for the past four and a half years, had a previous conviction for assaulting the same victim, who he had been in a relationship with, last year.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that while “nothing good can be said about behaviour like that”, Blakely had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

He was now estranged from his wife on the mainland but still sends four fifths of his income to her to support their two children and Mr Allan suggested it would be them who would suffer if he was not granted conditional bail and allowed to continue working in the isles until his next appearance.

But procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it had been a “nasty” assault during which the victim had sustained substantial swelling and cuts to her nose and said she was “extremely fearful he will cause her further harm if the opportunity presents itself”.

He said that given the footage of the incident it would have been difficult for the accused not to have accepted his guilt. “The concerning thing is a very similar recent assault to the same woman,” he said.

Sheriff George Henderson said that whatever had led to it, the circumstances of the assault “could not have been clearer”.

Because of his prior conviction, the nature of the assault and the “perfectly understandable” fears of the victim should he be allowed to remain at large in Shetland, sheriff Henderson ordered that Blakely remain in custody while social inquiry reports are compiled. His next appearance will be on 19th November.


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