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Men fined £15,000 for dropping sofa on woman

Men fined £15,000 for dropping sofa on woman
Barrie Law and Lee Morrison claim to have checked the space was clear beforehand

Two men have been ordered to pay a combined fine of £15,000 after dropping a sofa from a building on top of a woman, leaving her “severely injured, permanently disfigured and impaired”, according to her lawyer.

Barrie Law, 27, and Lee Morrison, 33, were at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday, having already admitted to culpable and reckless conduct.

The incident, which took place in December 2019, saw the pair trying to remove a sofa from Mr Law’s flat in Aberdeen and dropping it from the roof of Nailco Nail Bar. The court was told this method was chosen because they could not find another way to manoeuvre it out of the property.

It was heard they had checked to see if anyone was in the area below before dropping it from a height of five metres. But it managed to strike Edita Butkeveiciute, who was outside at the time.

Fiscal depute Colin Neilson said Ms Butkeveiciute “wasn’t aware of what happened, she woke up screaming”.

He told the court his client is still unable to sit for more than 40 minutes, suffers panic attacks near tall buildings, flashbacks and has had her ability to sleep affected.

George Mathers, representing Mr Law, said the incident would “haunt” his client for the rest of his life and that he was extremely sorry for his conduct.

“When they saw the woman, he got absolutely the shock of his life,” Mr Mathers said. “He thought she was dead, he was shaken to the core. He feels so guilt-ridden about what he has done.”

Debbie Ginniver, representing Mr Morrison, said: “Mr Morrison certainly didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt, however, the complainer did suffer very serious injuries for his actions and he feels dreadful for that.”

She added: “It was a catastrophic error of judgment on Mr Morrison’s part.”

Sheriff William Summers said the pair would have faced time behind bars had they not taken “precautions”.

“Had it been the case that the two of you had simply dropped this sofa without taking any precautions, custody would be inevitable,” he told the men. “But I accept you took precautions, albeit entirely inadequate.”

He continued: “To put it simply, it’s hard to imagine doing anything more culpable and reckless than dropping a sofa from a roof.”

Mr Law was ordered to pay £12,000 in compensation and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work over 12 months, while Mr Morrison was ordered to pay £3,000 and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work over 12 months.

In a statement released after the men were sentenced, Ms Butkeveiciute said she wanted to “focus on my recovery” and asked “people in the community” to show the men compassion.

“It was a stupid thing they did – they know that and they have to live with that,” she said. “But other people in the community have attacked them or isolated them and that is wrong so I don’t want to do anything to make matters worse.

“I just want to focus on my recovery in private and move on with my life the best way I can,” she added.

Additional reporting by PA