Armed robber who targeted Edinburgh bookies now in a coma after ear was hacked off in Saughton Prison

Dale Thomas was attacked while serving four years and eight months for a series of raids on bookies in the Capital.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:02 pm

AN ARMED robber who was jailed for “brazen” raids on Edinburgh bookmakers is in a coma in hospital after his ear was hacked off behind bars.

Dale Thomas, 28, suffered horrific wounds when two inmates high on Spice targeted him in his cell at Saughton Prison on Monday.

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) staff rushed to his aid after hearing screams from his cell in the jail’s Ingliston Hall.

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Dale Thomas was behind bars after raiding two bookies in Edinburgh, including this one on Morningside Road
Dale Thomas was behind bars after raiding two bookies in Edinburgh, including this one on Morningside Road

Thomas was found with a number of stab wounds from a makeshift knife. It has been claimed a razor blade melted into the handle of a toothbrush was used to slice off his ear.

He was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary before being transferred to St John’s Hospital in Livingston for specialist surgery. It has not been revealed if plastic surgeons were able to re-attach his ear.

Thomas was attacked while serving four years and eight months for a series of terrifying raids on bookies in the Capital.

It is understood he had a fall out with fellow Saughton inmates and one source claimed the attack had been “totally unprovoked”.

Thomas was found with a number of stab wounds from a makeshift knife

One insider said: “The boy got a really sore one for no reason. It was unprovoked and a total liberty. Someone has claimed he died in the way to hospital but we’re not sure if that’s right.

“Staff have told us he is in a coma waiting to have more work done on him. He has some friends in the system who will not be happy about it.”.

Thomas and Darren Lamb, 25, were jailed in 2015 for two raids on Edinburgh bookies.

They admitted assaulting Paula Davitt at a branch of Ladbrokes in Gorgie Road and taking £3,757..

Staff rushed to his aid after hearing screams of agony coming from his cell in the jails Ingliston Hall.

They also pled guilty to assaulting Gareth Roberts, 27, and robbing him of £2,365 at a Ladbrokes branch in Morningside Road.

Terrified Mr Roberts was warned he would be murdered if he moved or pressed an alarm.

In both incidents staff were threatened with a screwdriver.

Footage shown during their trial showed the pair as they entered the branch in Gorgie with Lamb carrying a screwdriver. He jumped onto the counter and leapt over, followed by Thomas who had a hammer.

The victim screamed and Lamb thrust the screwdriver towards her face and said: “Give me your money and I won’t hurt you.”

The pair struck again at the second branch after approaching a private-hire driver and asking how they could get a taxi quickly.

He then saw them pull what appeared to be scarves over their faces and enter the premises and made a 999 call.

They were caught following the raid on the second branch.

After they were sentenced, Det Ch Insp Stuart Houston, of Police Scotland, said: “The pair carried out these brazen attacks in broad daylight, threatening extreme violence to the workers in their way.

“Fortunately no-one was injured during these incidents but they were incredibly frightening experiences for the staff and I commend their bravery.”

A spokeswoman for the SPS said: “We are aware of an incident in HMP Edinburgh on Monday, December 10. Police Scotland are investigating and inquiries are ongoing.”