January 2022

‘I don’t think justice has been done’ – domestic abuse victim might appeal sentence

A woman is considering challenging what she considers to be a lenient court sentence given to her sex offender ex-husband.

Earlier this month, Thomas Hannah (55), of Sutors Avenue, Nairn, was found guilty by a jury at Inverness Sheriff Court of a string of offences committed between 1991 and 2020.

But he was spared a prison sentence, prompting the woman (pictured) to tell the Courier: “I don’t think justice has been done.”

Offences included assaulting his former wife on various occasions between May 6, 1991, and May 28, 2020, including striking her on the head and seizing her by the neck.

He was also convicted of using lewd and libidinous practices on a girl under the age of 16 on New Year’s Day in 2000 and, between December 31, 2016 and January 4, 2017, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 13.

On May 6, 1995 he severely injured and permanently disfigured another woman by hitting her on the head with a bottle.

Other charges on which he was found guilty included a breach of the peace committed some time between November 17 and December 31, 1992 where he destroyed a kitchen and smashed windows at a property in Nairn and a charge of behaving in a disorderly manner on various occasions between May 6, 1991, and May 29, 2020 by repeatedly shouting and swearing, throwing and damaging furniture and placing the occupants of a property in a state of fear and alarm.

Sheriff Gary Aitken ordered Hannah to carry out 280 hours of unpaid work and placed under social work supervision and on the Sex Offenders’ Register for three years.

He was also ordered to participate in programmes for domestic abusers and alcohol treatment and barred from having any unsupervised contact with girls under the age of 17 without the permission of his supervising officer, who must also approve where he lives.

In addition, he was made the subject of a three-year long non-harassment order, to protect his victims.

The woman, who now lives in the Inverness area, has spoken out after enduring what she says was years of domestic abuse at Hannah’s hands.

“It was physical and mental abuse for 10 years to be honest,” she said of her experience with him.

“I lost all my family through it because they wouldn’t come and visit me because of what he was doing, but I had kids and I didn’t know where to go. I was stuck, so I just went along with it for years.”

After the divorce, she said, she even tried to take her own life and ended up in hospital.

“That was my lowest because he just took everything off me,” she said.

She managed to gradually rebuild her life, however, and was first contacted by the police four years ago when they told her they were investigating various allegations against Hannah.

She said hearing from the police had brought everything back and it had been a long process to get it to court.

“It has taken forever because of all the lockdowns and I don’t know how many times they cancelled court dates,” she said.

Delighted at the guilty verdicts handed down at the conclusion of Hannah’s trial she has nevertheless been left disappointed by his sentence.