A highly-paid East Perthshire off-shore worker who attacked his ex-partner, leaving her with a suspected broken nose, was spared a prison sentence because of the financial impact a jail term would have on her.
Instead, 38-year-old Scott McKay, of Princes Croft, Coupar Angus, will have to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work as part of a Community Payback Order.
He will also have to pay her £750 compensation and he will be supervised for the next 12 months to reduce his re-offending.
In addition, he has been banned from entering the house he owns - but where his ex-partner lives at the moment - for the next eight months.
As well as paying the mortgage on the property, he is also responsible for the Council Tax and all other outgoings, as well as paying her £540 a month in maintenance.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told McKay: “This offence, having regard to your record, undoubtedly justifies the imposition of a custodial sentence.
“What makes me pause from imposing such a sentence, is not that it would have an effect on you, in the sense that you lose your job.
“But it would have a knock-on effect at this stage in connection with the victim of this incident.”
The ban on him going to his house in Princes Croft was imposed because the latest assault took place there, as did a previous domestic incident.
“The eight-month prohibition means that it gives the complainer time to get alternative accommodation.”
Sheriff Foulis stressed that the unpaid work was a direct alternative to a spell behind bars.
Perth Sheriff Court was told previously that the accused earns almost £4,000 a month net - and she was “financially dependent” on him.
Solicitor David Bell argued that Ms Nilssen would again become a victim if he were jailed.
“He would lose his job and would not be in a position to pay the maintenance, the mortgage and the other outgoings.”
He urged the sheriff to consider imposing the maximum number of hours of unpaid work, as part of a Community Payback Order, along with compensation.
McKay admitted grabbing Ms Nilssen by the head and punching her repeatedly on the face to her injury on September 3.
Depute fiscal Catherine Fraser said the couple had been in a relationship for 12 years.
During that Monday evening, they were at home having a drink when, about 10.30pm, he became “aggressive” towards her. He told her: “I’ve had enough of your sh***.”
She was uncomfortable with his demeanour and went to the kitchen. He followed her and asked her to return but she refused.
The accused then grabbed hold of the back of her head and pulled her hair with his left hand. At the same time, he punched her twice on the face while shouting: “Do as you’re told.”
After he released his grip on her, she immediately dialled 999 and contacted the police.
She had a bleeding nose and was taken by ambulance to hospital with a suspected broken nose. Further examination, however, revealed she had sustained soft tissue damage.
Mr Bell said his client was “devastated and disgusted” at what he had done and there was “no prospect of a reconciliation”.
The lawyer added: “He recognises his record isn’t good. The last two offences related to the same complainer.”
In May 2010, McKay was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and put on probation for 12 month with a condition that he engage in a domestic violence programme for assaulting the same partner with a frying pan after they returned home from a barbecue.