Brutal chalet attack left victim permanently disfigured

A pair of visiting workers admitted carrying out a “contrived attack” on two brothers which left one victim permanently disfigured.

Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Tuesday) heard how Steven Hazel and Craig Donaldson claimed to be police officers before barging into the Scalloway chalet where they carried out the brutal assaults.

Photos showed smashed pictures, blood covered walls and stained pillows.

The most serious charge detailed how Hazel, of Hilton Terrace, Fallin, had punched, kicked, butted and gouged the eyes of his victim.

He was left in a state of shock, with bruised ribs, permanent scars and 28 stitches.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the attack was carried out after the aggressors – who were staying in the same chalet complex – accused the brothers of damaging their work van’s wing mirror.

“This was not a situation where violence erupted spontaneously,” he said.

“This was a contrived attack for a perceived wrongdoing of a very minor nature.”

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank warned both men they could be facing jail when they returned for sentencing next month after the preparation of reports.

The court heard how Hazel and Donaldson, both aged 40, had been staying in the chalet above the brothers, who were also visiting Shetland for work.

Mr MacKenzie said Hazel first quizzed the two men about the damaged vehicle on Thursday, 24th March, 2022.

They denied any involvement and thought that was the end of the matter, the court head.

However, shortly after midnight that Sunday, 27th March, Mr MacKenzie said they heard a loud knocking on their door.

Initially, they ignored it but when the accused identified themselves as police officers, one of the brothers went to open the door.

Mr MacKenzie said Hazel and Donaldson “burst and barged” their way in with such force that the man was knocked backwards into the bathroom.

Donaldson, of Halbeath Avenue, Glasgow, focussed his attention on this victim, while Hazel took care of the other brother.

Hazel punched him on the head, knocking him to the ground, the court heard.

He struggled to his feet, only for Hazel to continue his attack, sending him backwards into the bedroom.

Here, the fiscal described how Hazel subjected his victim to repeated punches, kicks, and butts to the head, biting his arm and gouging his eyes.

Meanwhile, Donaldson punched and kicked his victim, also knocking him to the ground.

Donaldson’s victim managed to get to his feet and escaped  to seek help from the owner of the chalets, who lived on the site.

The owner called the police before heading down to the scene of the attack, where Hazel was holding the other brother, who was clearly injured, in a headlock,

The owner ordered Hazel and Donaldson to leave and began taking photos of the chalet, which showed signs of “significant disturbance”.

Both brothers were taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick for treatment.

Hazel’s victim was in such a nervous state that it took 10 minutes for his heartrate to return to normal.

Examinations revealed six cuts to his head, five of which needed a total of 28 stitches.

The two above his eyes left permanent scars, Mr MacKenzie said.

He also suffered haemorrhaging to his left eye and tissue injuries all over his face and body.

The complainer had two bite wounds to his left arm, one of which had broken his skin, requiring him to take a tetanus jab.

The two men had been due to leave Shetland the following day, which they did.

Hazel’s victim went for further scans and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he was found to have sustained four fractured ribs.

Police carried out significant forensic inquires and took more photos of the chalet.

Mr MacKenzie said bloody footprints were found matching Hazel’s footwear.

He said the attacks were racially aggravated as the two brothers were Irish and had been subjected to derogatory comments about their nationality.

Defence agent Tommy Allan, representing Hazel, said that while his client had committed two similar offences, these had been “considerable time ago” when he was a much younger man.

Mr Allan said Hazel lived with his partner and two children, one of whom had severe ADHD. He said there had been family difficulties.

While acknowledging the “huge effect” the incident had on his victim, Mr Allan said Hazel too had “struggled to comprehend what he became involved in”.

He said his mental health had suffered and he had been unable to work for a while.

Having since returned to work, installing cavity wall insulation, Mr Allan said his client was earning around £1,000 a week and could pay “significant compensation”.

A jury trial had been scheduled to take place before the two men pleaded guilty to amended charges.

Mr Allan acknowledged his client had “buried his head in the sand” but was now ready to own up to what had happened.

Representing Donaldson, defence agent Michael Bell noted that his client’s charge had been less serious.

He said Donaldson had been keen to resolve the matter some time ago, and had put a plea to the fiscal two months ago.

Mr Bell said his client’s criminal record made for “interesting reading”.

While he had been a persistent offender in hes teens and early 20s, Mr Bell said it had been six years since his last offence.

Since then, he said he had also been making “good money” from installing cavity wall insultation.

Mr Bell said Donaldson had “settled down” was working hard and staying out of trouble – until the events in the chalet.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank noted the particular severity of Hazel’s charge.

He adjourned the case until sentencing on 20th December.

While bail was continued, Sheriff Cruickshank warned both men there may be no alternative but to consider a custodial disposal.


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