‘I was held-up by serial thug with 31 convictions’

Callum Urquhart was faced with a 12in knife. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Callum Urquhart was faced with a 12in knife. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A CAREER criminal who left his latest victim “dumbstruck” with fear during a raid on a newsagent was today beginning his 31st sentence.

Shop assistant Callum Urquhart was on duty alone when Robert Adamson, 46, entered the Joppa newsagent and pulled out a 12-inch knife before demanding cash and cigarettes.

Mr Urquhart, 20, said homeless Adamson – who has a record stretching back to 1987 – “deserved” the nine-year jail term handed to him yesterday by judge Lord Boyd at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Mr Urquhart, a keen rugby player and full-back for Portobello RFC, who had worked at Joppa Newsagents for about eight months when the incident occurred last July, told the Evening News he was caught completely unaware.

He said: “He looked like a normal guy – maybe he was wearing a lot of clothes for a summer’s day.

“He asked for Amber Leaf rolling tobacco. I turned round, saw him put his hand in his pocket and pull out this big knife – I was dumbstruck.”

Mr Urquhart said Adamson “murmured something about the till”, after which the shop assistant opened up the cash register.

The robber then reached over and pulled out the tray, which contained around £500, before forcing his victim to hand over boxes of cigarettes worth at least another £500.

“He picked up the cigarettes, the knife still in his hand, and just walked out,” said Mr Urquhart.

“I shut the door, phoned the police and then called the shop owner.

“I was confused but I think I felt shock more than anything. It was completely surreal – something that doesn’t happen in Joppa.”

In May 2006, Adamson was jailed for nine years for assault and robbery but the judge made an order keeping him on licence for an extra three.

At the time of the Joppa raid, Adamson was still on licence after being freed early from his sentence the previous September.

Lord Boyd yesterday sent Adamson back to prison for four-and-a-half years remaining from the May 2006 sentence and added the same time again for the Joppa offence.

Defence QC Ian Duguid admitted his client presented a “significant risk” to the public, adding that he had become a drug addict during one of his longer sentences and could not cope on the outside without controlled narcotics.

Mr Urquhart said: “I think it’s a good sentence – he must deserve it if he’s done all those other places as well.”

The sentence was welcomed by newsagent owner Kathleen Fraser, 50, who praised former colleague Mr Urquhart as reliable and hard-working, and said: “Why brandish a knife like that? That sentence is about what he deserves, given what he put Callum through.”