AN EX-SQUADDIE roughed up by a pensioner whose house he had broken into has been jailed.
Thief Robbie Morrison was kicked and punched by 76-year-old Alan Saville, who had been due to undergo a triple heart bypass operation, after waking the retired businessman.
Mr Saville fled from his house in Spylaw Road, Morningside, and returned with his son-in-law, who lives across the road, before the pair forced Morrison to leave.
The 28-year-old former soldier was yesterday jailed for two years after admitting stealing two mobile phones from the house in the late-night raid.
Speaking after Morrison pleaded guilty last month, Mr Saville described how he struggled with the intruder after being woken by creaking floorboards. He said: “He was right next to the bed. I swung my legs out of bed and tried to kick him as I got out.
“I swung a punch at him, thought ‘don’t think that hit’, and tried to kick him in the groin.”
He ran to alert son-in-law Antonino Allenza, 56, and with his help forced the thug to leave. Fiscal Depute John Kirk told the court yesterday that Morrison, who was traced by DNA evidence left at the property, had repeatedly demanded £50 from Mr Saville.
Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill QC heard Morrison had been discharged from the Army after abusing valium and heroin, and was already serving a jail sentence for a previous theft.
Defence solicitor, Gordon Stewart, said his client had come off drugs while in prison and was determined not to get involved again.
He said: “He realises he will need support on his release and has been in contact with a veterans’ agency, who will give him assistance in finding accommodation.”
Mr Stewart added that Morrison had been getting on well with his family and was hoping they would continue to be on good terms after he was released.
After the earlier hearing, Mr Saville said he felt sorry for the thief, who had served on two tours of duty.
He said: “I understand he spent four years in the army. I felt sorry for him in a way because he obviously hadn’t settled down to civilian life.
“If he can be prevented from doing it again that’s the main objective. I hope he learns from whatever punishment he gets.”
Sheriff MacNeill acknowledged that Morrison had served his country, but added: “I have had dealings with you in the past.”
She jailed him for 24 months, reduced from 36 because of his early guilty plea. The sentence was backdated to December 22 last year when he had been remanded in custody.
She also imposed a 12-month supervised release order “to provide you with some kind of support and to protect the public”.