Carer scared to leave home after bus stop robbery

Claire McHay has been frightened to leave her home since she was mugged. Picture: Jon Savage
Claire McHay has been frightened to leave her home since she was mugged. Picture: Jon Savage
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A young carer has been suffering panic attacks and is scared to be on her own after she was robbed while waiting for a bus.

Claire McHale was pushed and had her iPhone snatched from her hand by a heavy-set robber during the attack in West Granton Road.

She had been waiting for a bus to go to her last client of the day in Wardie when she was attacked at the stop near Edinburgh College.

The man, believed to weigh around 20 stone, tried to grab the phone from her hand before pushing her, causing her to stumble and release her grip.

The 22-year-old was so traumatised by the incident that she has been put on anti-anxiety medication and has been signed off work for a fortnight.

Ms McHale, of West Pilton, was uninjured but she has been having panic attacks and flashbacks since the incident.

She said she wanted to speak out about the impact that minor robberies can have on victims.

“I was getting the bus, going to my last client,” she said. “Now I can’t leave the house without someone being with me.

“[I hope] I can help other people, I don’t want victims sitting thinking ‘why am I the only victim?’. It’s not about the phone – that’s just a material thing. I don’t want a defenceless old woman to be attacked.”

Police are appealing for 
witnesses to the incident, which happened a week ago today at around 9.20pm.

Officers are trying to trace the robber – who made off eastwards along West Granton Road – and a female witness, who asked Ms McHale if she was alright before leaving in the same direction.

Ms McHale, who is 4ft 11in tall, said the robber “towered over her” and had the “sturdy” build of a rugby player.

Ms McHale’s colleague had been standing with her at the bus stop to keep her company, but she had told him to leave as her bus would be there soon.

“They did it once he was out of sight and hearing range. They waited until I was alone and vulnerable,” she said.

“It’s not a nice experience, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

Miss McHale said she thought the woman had been with the robber before the incident, and believes he was waiting until she was alone before he pounced.

The suspect is described as being a white man who was around 5ft 7in. He was wearing a black hooded top with the hood up and across his face, black bottoms and trainers. The witness is believed to be a white woman in her mid-30s, around 5ft 2in with a medium build and brown shoulder-length hair.

Police said inquiries were ongoing into the incident.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com