Abusive ex-husband who tormented former cop wife avoids jail term

A businessman who subjected his ex-wife, a former police officer, to a campaign of harassment and abuse has been spared jail. Russell Laing, 50, made his former partner Paula Nicholas’ life a living hell, forcing her to flee Scotland and move to another country.

A history of violence and control

Laing and Nicholas met in 2014 and married in 2016. Nicholas, who had served as a police officer for 16 years, quit her job to join Laing’s business. However, she soon discovered that Laing was a violent and controlling man, who would assault her, monitor her phone and social media, and isolate her from her friends and family.

Nicholas endured years of abuse from Laing, who would punch, kick, and choke her. He also threatened to kill her and her children from a previous marriage. He once smashed her head against a wall so hard that she lost consciousness and suffered a brain injury.

A desperate escape

In 2019, Nicholas decided to leave Laing and filed for divorce. She moved out of their home in Edinburgh and rented a flat in Glasgow. However, Laing continued to harass and stalk her, sending her hundreds of abusive messages and emails, and showing up at her workplace and flat uninvited.

Abusive ex-husband

Nicholas was so terrified of Laing that she decided to move to another country, where she hoped to start a new life. She obtained a non-harassment order against Laing, which prohibited him from contacting her or approaching her.

A lenient sentence

Laing was arrested and charged with assault, breach of the peace, and breach of the non-harassment order. He pleaded guilty to all the charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on April 19, 2023. He admitted that he had caused Nicholas fear and alarm, and that he had acted in a violent and abusive manner towards her.

However, Sheriff Peter McCormack decided not to send Laing to prison, despite the seriousness of his offences. Instead, he sentenced him to a community payback order, which requires him to perform 300 hours of unpaid work and attend a domestic abuse programme. He also extended the non-harassment order for five years.

A shocking decision

Nicholas, who was not present in court, said that she was shocked and disappointed by the sentence. She said that Laing had ruined her life and that he deserved to be locked up for his crimes. She also said that she felt let down by the justice system, which failed to protect her and other victims of domestic abuse.

Nicholas said that she still lives in fear of Laing, and that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. She said that she hopes to raise awareness about domestic abuse and to help other women who are in similar situations.

By Axel Piper

Axel Piper is a renowned news writer based in Scotland, known for his insightful coverage of all the trending news stories. With his finger on the pulse of Scotland's ever-changing landscape, Axel brings the latest updates and breaking news to readers across the nation. His extensive knowledge of current affairs, combined with his impeccable research skills, allows him to provide accurate and comprehensive reporting on a wide range of topics. From politics to entertainment, sports to technology, Axel's articles are engaging and informative, keeping readers informed and up to date.

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