‘Total menace’ jailed for 16-months

A “total menace” who deliberately stepped out in front of moving traffic is beginning a 16-month custodial sentence.

Nathan Hilditch, 20, of Horseshoe Close in Virkie was handed the jail term after sheriff Philip Mann indicated he had lost all patience.

Hilditch has been testing the will of both the police and the court by deliberately stepping out in front of moving traffic in the town.

But he has also been struggling violently with officers fed up with his boisterous behaviour, and carrying out other offences too.

His antics are the latest in a long line of offences, since he began making nuisance 999 calls – an offence for which he was handed a 15-week sentence in July last year.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court today, he admitted culpably and recklessly running into the carriageway at Holmsgarth Road on 13th September.

He also admitted breaking the rear windscreen wiper of a police car in King Erik Street six days later and struggling violently with police.

Hilditch was due to appear in court anyway, after previously admitting similar offences.

Chief among these was an occasion on 10th July when he made an attempt to gain access to a police car in Lerwick’s Commercial Road.

He struggled violently with police officers and made a reckless attempt to kick an officer to the head while he was at the wheel.

The court had heard that could have resulted in the officer losing control of his vehicle.

At one stage Hilditch repeatedly tried to bite and butt a policeman.

Hilditch also admitted breaching the peace in the town’s South Road on 29th May – again resisting arrest, and lashing out with his arms and kicking out with his legs.

In addition, Hilditch breached a community payback order.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the latest case was “more of the same” behaviour as before.

“He’s moved from previously wasting the police’s time by making 999 calls, and now prefers to either jump in front of cars, knowing police will come or, if police are passing, he runs away from them, drawing attention to himself.”

The fiscal cited an occasion where police were investigating an assault and spotted Hilditch running away, bringing suspicion on himself.

He said Hilditch had displayed “moronic” behaviour, by jumping out in front of traffic.

“There is a degree of arrogance about him now. He thinks he’s better than others.”

Mr MacKenzie added Hilditch was only troublesome when drunk, but added the offender did not have a drink problem.

“He chooses to get drunk. He is now a considerable menace, not only to the police, but to members of the public who are driving about.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan admitted it was difficult to find anything new to say about Hilditch.

“It has got to the stage where things have built up,” he said.

“There is an inevitability about what happens now.”

The court heard Hilditch could have mental health issues, with Mr Allan describing his running in front of cars as a “form of self-harm”.

“Sooner or later he’s going to realise things are going nowhere for him.”

He said Hilditch had been assessed as suitable for a restriction of liberty order, which would allow him to keep his home address – something Hilditch was concerned about losing.

Mr Allan added that swimming had helped provide Hilditch with a focus on life, which helped him behave better.

“It’s not much of a defence to say he committed this offence because the swimming pool was closed, but certainly when he had more routine he was able to behave himself.”

Sheriff Philip Mann told Hilditch: “I’m afraid the time has come for a custodial sentence. I’m not going to beat about the bush – you’re just a total menace.

“Mr MacKenzie is right – when you don’t drink, you are able to behave. I don’t understand why you can’t just lay off the drink.”


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