An “intelligent” thug who battered a woman in front of a young child and put her in a chokehold, ripping out chunks of her hair today (Friday) avoided jail.
Robert Shand launched the brutal attack on the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at an address in Carnoustie last November.
He was told he had only avoided a prison sentence because he was the sole carer of his two children.
Shand - who has two previous convictions for offences against the same woman - first banged her head off a wall before putting her in a headlock - causing her to struggle to breathe.
This took place in front of an “extremely upset” primary school-aged boy.
But Shand told the boy: “I’m giving her a hug.”
Fiscal depute Saima Rasheed told Dundee Sheriff Court that Shand then left the house - but returned and restarted the attack.
At one point he wrenched a ‘phone from her hand as she spoke to a 999 operator before pulling “several clumps” of hair out of her head.
Miss Rasheed said: “He grabbed her by the face and repeatedly struck her head against a wardrobe.
“The child began to cry again which made the accused stop.
“At this stage, police officers arrived at the locus in response to calls made by both the complainer and a neighbour.
“The accused fled the locus through the back door.
“Officers entered the property.
“There were signs of a disturbance within and the complainer and her child were both crying and emotional.
“She noticeably had clumps of hair missing from her head.
“The officers tried to trace the accused but were unable to find him.
“A neighbour was also traced.
“At the time of the assault she heard the complainer shouting at the accused to ‘get off her’ and heard the accused shouting ‘I’m gonna put your head in”.
“She also heard the complainer shouting ‘someone call the police’.
“The neighbour told the police she felt really frightened for the woman and her children.”
Shand, 35, Carnoustie, Angus, pleaded guilty on indictment
Defence advocate Neil Beardmore said: “This is an intelligent, articulate, responsible man who holds a degree in computer network engineering and was studying for a masters, though didn’t complete it.
“He is the sole carer of his two children.
“There are exceptional circumstances here.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael imposed a restriction of liberty order requiring Shand to wear an electronic tag and be confined to his home from 7pm to 7am for eight months.
He was also placed on a community payback order with two years’ supervision.
Sheriff Carmichael said: “This is a serious offence and it is further compounded by the fact that you have two previous convictions involving this woman.
“These factors make this a matter that firmly fits in the realms of a custodial sentence.
“However, exceptionally and unusually in these circumstances - particularly because of the circumstances of your two children being looked after by you - I’ve concluded it can be dealt with by a non custodial sentence.”