Mugger caught by DNA on OAP’s shopping bag

Keith Ballantine. Picture: comp
Keith Ballantine. Picture: comp
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A MUGGER attacked and robbed an 82-year-old woman as she made her way home from the shops.

Keith Ballantine pounced on the pensioner from behind and dragged her to the ground before running off with her shopping bag, handbag and purse.

The woman, who uses a walking stick, suffered an injury to her knee as she refused to let go of her belongings during the incident in Musselburgh.

Ballantine eventually managed to snatch the bags from the woman’s grasp before fleeing. The empty bags and purse were subsequently found stashed in a nearby rubbish bin.

He was then snared after his DNA showed up on the Tesco shopping bag he had grabbed from the pensioner.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told how Ballantine approached the woman from behind in a dark side-street before knocking her to the ground.

Fiscal depute Marie-Claire Chaffey said: “She was aware of a male approaching her from behind and grabbing her shopping bag. She tried to keep hold of the bag, was dragged to the ground and banged her knee.”

The 40-year-old mugger, from Musselburgh, also admitted to attempting to break into a 72-year-old woman’s home just four weeks earlier during Thursday’s court appearance.

The OAP was in her home at the time when she heard Ballantine trying to gain entry by climbing in through an open window.

Ms Chaffey added: “The woman was in her home at around 5.30pm and she heard a noise. She saw a male at her bedroom window and she thought he was trying to put his hand inside the window.

“He then made off and another witness saw this and challenged the accused. He [Ballantine] mumbled something about ‘his granny’ before running away.”

Sheriff Nigel Ross remanded Ballantine in custody and deferred sentence to May 21 for the preparation of reports.

Pleas of not guilty to further charges including breaking into a home in Wallyford, East Lothian, a community centre in Musselburgh and mugging a 78-year-old woman in Inveresk Village were all accepted by the Crown.

Ballantine admitted to pulling at a partially open ground floor window at an address at Millhill Wynd, Musselburgh, and attempting to break in with intent to steal on November 9, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting the 82-year-old woman by approaching her from behind causing her to fall to the ground to her injury, rob her of her shopping bag, handbag, purse and a set of keys at Eskdale Mews, Musselburgh, on December 4 last year.

newsen@edinburghnews.com