Teenager escapes jail after ‘cowardly’ attack on pensioner

Teenager admitted 'cowardly' attack
Teenager admitted ‘cowardly’ attack

A TEENAGER WHO admitted taking part in what was described as a ‘cowardly and frenzied attack’ on an Elgin pensioner has escaped detention.

19-year-old Dylan Aspland appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court on Thursday where he admitted taking part in the attack on Thomas Ridgley, 67, outside his home at Forsyth Close in the town. Aspland appeared in court alongside a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Aspland was one of four youths who attacked Mr Ridgley outside his home after he had returned from the local police station where he had provided evidence of harassment.

The court heard that for several weeks before the June 12 attack last year Mr Ridgley had been subjected to repeated harassment from a group of young people gathering near his home. The pensioner obtained photographs of those responsible and took them to the police.

Fiscal Ruaraidh MacAllister told the court that this angered the youths, whom Mr Ridgley passed on his way home from the police station. The group followed him to the entrance of the sheltered housing complex before two teenagers approached him from the opposite direction – the pensioner was then shoved to the ground and badly beaten.

Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov was told that when police arrived the noted a significant amount of blood on Mr Ridgley’s stairwell. He was taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital and later transferred to Aberdeen for surgery on a cut to his hand.

Aspland and his accomplice both admitted assaulting Mr Ridgley, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him in the head and body, with Sheriff Pasportnikov shown disturbing images of the condition of their victim after the attack.

However, the Sheriff spared the pair custodial sentences, saying: “This was a disgusting and cowardly act – but I am not convinced you would come back from prison as better people.”

Sentence was deferred for a month and an assessment on restriction of liberty orders will be undertaken.