A THUG who left a 90-year old man a prisoner in his own home after stalking him and mugging him in broad daylight could be freed within months – despite receiving a two-year jail term.
Friends of frail pensioner William Drummond Duncan said the “independent and dignified character” was forced to abandon regular trips out by himself in the wake of the assault.
Ian Paterson was jailed for just two years yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court over the robbery bid in the Grange last year, when his victim was aged 89.
Under automatic early release he could be out within months however, prompting anger from politicians.
Sentencing Paterson, Sheriff James Scott said: “I don’t need to tell you how serious this is. A man has had his life changed by you.”
Paterson, described as a prisoner at Saughton jail, was found guilty after trial of repeatedly following Mr Drummond on October 20 last year before launching the attack.
Following the sentencing, a close friend of Mr Duncan said: “He still goes out accompanied by someone else, but he has lost the ability to go out on his own. However, he’s an independent and dignified character who is doing fine now.”
As well as the two-year sentence, Paterson was placed on a supervised release order for 12 months which would see him returned to jail if he offends during that time.
But with four months already served on remand, Paterson could be let out of prison by November under automatic early release. Under the system, prisoners sentenced to four years or less can be set free after serving half their term.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “It sums up the justice system in Scotland that such a dangerous thug won’t even serve out a 12-month sentence. Meanwhile, his victim is forced to serve a life sentence of his own.
“The SNP should make it an absolute priority that dangerous criminals like this are properly punished, and ending automatic early release would be a good start.”
Gavin Brown, Lothians Tory MSP, said: “I speak to constituents all the time who are sick and tired of this kind of soft-touch Scottish justice.”
Mr Duncan, who walks with the aid of a stick, had been making the regular trip to a Santander bank to check his account after leaving his care home in Chalmers Crescent.
He was spotted on the Lothian bus he was travelling on by fellow passenger Paterson, who got off at the same time as him at the bank branch on Newington Road. Paterson watched the pensioner use the atm then followed his intended victim on to a No.5 Lothian bus before both men got off on Grange Road at 10.10am. The mugger came up behind Mr Duncan, placed a hand over his eyes and removed his spectacles before demanding money. Mr Duncan told him he did not have any cash, and had only used the atm to check his balance.
Paterson began searching through Mr Duncan’s pockets and the pensioner was injured in the struggle. Detectives later said he had been left “extremely shaken” by his ordeal.
Paterson’s defence solicitor, Caroline Kwek told the court yesterday that her client accepted the attack must have been horrendous for his victim.
Sheriff Scott said that only a custodial sentence was appropriate given the gravity of the offence and the impact on Mr Duncan’s life.
The sheriff added: “To protect the public from serious harm on your release there will be a supervised release order for 12 months.”
The sentence was backdated to November 13 last year when Paterson was remanded in custody. Paterson was found guilty of assault with intent to rob after attacking his elderly victim. He was sentenced following the preparation of background reports.