AN AYRSHIRE car thief who threatened to slit the throat of the vehicle owner’s son if they didn’t hand over the keys is back on the streets.

Dad-of-one Nathan Donner spent more than eight months behind bars after being arrested following the shocking incident in Ballantrae last year.

But the 26-year-old has now been released on bail – as he awaits the result of an assessment for a strict drug treatment order which it’s hoped will stop his offending.

Donner had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and robbery following the incident at a house in the village’s Main Street on April 25, 2023.

The terrified occupants handed over the keys and Donner drove away – only to be caught by police in Girvan, where he and his passenger had gone to buy drugs. 

Police found him drunk at the wheel – and discovered that he’d also been banned from driving. 

A previous court hearing was told that a woman was at home in Ballantrae with her son when Donner and another man appeared at the door at around 8pm.

Procurator fiscal depute Chris Munro said: “He began shouting to give him the car keys. 

READ MORE: Car theft thug's threat to 'slit throat' in terrifying Ballantrae robbery 

“When she refused, he said ‘get me the f***ing keys or I will murder someone’. 

She became worried for the safety of her son. 

“The accused then reached into his pocket and she heard a sound that seemed like a knife flicking.” 

Donner then told the woman: “Give me the keys or I’ll slit his throat.” 

The woman handed over the keys and Donner drove off. 

Police were alerted and managed to establish Donner’s location by speaking on the phone to his passenger. 

Mr Munro continued: “Police traced the accused in Lindon Avenue, Girvan. They saw the accused in the driver’s seat.” 

Donner was arrested after failing a roadside breath test; a subsequent sample gave a reading of 47 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. 

The limit in Scotland is just 22 microgrammes. 

READ MORE: Two men appear in court after cannabis plants 'worth £650,000' found in Ayr

Tony Currie, defending, said Donner had “a significant record”, and had been placed on a renewed community payback order in the same month that the offences were committed. 

“The other man was the long-time partner of the complainer,” Mr Currie said.

“Both were driving to Girvan to buy drugs. 

“He had said they would let them use the car, but it did not turn out so. 

“While remanded in custody his daughter was born. He is adamant that when released he wants to have a relationship.”

At the latest hearing Mr Currie urged Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart to release his client on bail.

Ayr Advertiser: Nathan Donner appeared at Ayr Sheriff CourtNathan Donner appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Currie said: "Himself and his accomplice went on this escapade to buy drugs. Things went awry.

“When he first heard the narrative [of events] he felt ashamed by his conduct.

"His whole record of offences were on drugs or alcohol. When not under the influence he stands out as sensible, gives appropriate legal instructions, and is easy to deal with.

"He has, in effect, completed a 17-month custodial sentence."

Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart told Donner: "I think, with your record, it's at the point of ‘now or never’. It's all well feeling good intentions but you need to carry it out.”

The sheriff agreed to release Donner on bail and deferred sentence further for him to be assessed for a ‘drug treatment and testing order’ – an intensive regime which includes random testing to ensure the person on the order is steering clear of controlled drugs.

He will return to court at a later date.