Pair avoid prison after dropping sofa from building on to woman

Pair avoid prison after dropping sofa from building on to woman

May 31, 2021

Men who threw sofa from the top of a five metre-high building and crushed nail bar worker, 30, leaving her with a fractured spine are spared jail

  • Barrie Law, 27, and Lee Morrison, 33, admitted culpable and reckless conduct
  • Pair threw sofa off the roof of a building while trying to remove it from Law’s flat 
  • Nail bar worker Edita Butkeviciut was talking on the phone when the sofa fell
  • She suffered a fractured spine, broken thigh ankle and was stuck for 40 minutes
  • Law and Morrison have been ordered to pay combined total of £15,000 by court 

Two men in Scotland have been ordered to pay a combined total of £15,000 after dropping a sofa from a building on top of a woman.

Barrie Law, 27, and Lee Morrison, 33, were at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday having previously admitted the single charge of culpable and reckless conduct.

The incident on December 7 2019 saw the pair trying to remove a sofa from Law’s flat in Aberdeen and dropping it from the roof of Nailco Nail Bar.

The court was told this method was chosen as 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.

However, the furniture struck Edita Butkeveiciute who was outside at the time talking to her boyfriend on the phone.

Two men have been ordered to pay a combined total of £15,000 after nail bar worker Edita Butkeviciut (pictured) was gravely injured after she was crushed by a sofa while on her break

Edita was knocked out when the sofa landed from a roof above (pictured) behind the salon

Fiscal depute Colin Neilson said: ‘She wasn’t aware of what happened, she woke up screaming.’

A passer-by stopped to help and called 999 after hearing her screams while walking past.

The charge states the impact has caused her ‘severe injury, permanent disfigurement and impairment’.

Edita, originally from Lithuania, needed surgery for multiple broken bones, including a fractured spine, broken thigh and broken ankle and had to remain at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for seven weeks over Christmas. 

Edita has said she wants to move on with her life now that court proceedings are over

Medics inserted metal plates into her spine and at one stage it was feared she would never walk again. 

It was heard she 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 Law, said the incident would ‘haunt’ his client for the rest of his life and he was extremely sorry for his conduct.

He said: ‘When they saw the woman, he got absolutely the shock of his life.

‘He thought she was dead, he was shaken to the core. He feels so guilt-ridden about what he has done.’

Mr Mathers added: ‘This will haunt him for the rest of his life.’

Debbie Ginniver, representing 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.

‘It was a catastrophic error of judgment on Mr Morrison’s part.

‘If Mr Morrison could return back to December 7 2019 he wouldn’t make the same mistake.’

Sheriff William Summers said: ‘She was in hospital for a number of weeks and is still recovering. Her injuries are life changing.’

He added: ‘Had it been the case that the two of you had simply dropped this sofa without taking any precautions, custody would be inevitable.

The pair appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court (Andrew Milligan/PA)

‘But I accept you took precautions, albeit entirely inadequate.’

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

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

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

In a statement released after sentencing, Ms Butkeveiciute said: ‘What happened damaged me and has affected me for life but I don’t want those men to sit in jail.

‘It was a stupid thing they did – they know that and they have to live with that.

‘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.’

Ms Butkeveiciute has since revealed she is determined not to let her injuries hold her back and is now training to be a bodybuilder.

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