Edinburgh crime news: Life sentence for man who killed pensioner after pretending to be a postman

A serial criminal who killed a pensioner after getting into her home by pretending to be a postman has been handed a life sentence.

By Grant McCabe
Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:43 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:09 pm

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Martin Stewart shoved Margaret Grant after stealing cash and ransacking the 79 year-old's flat in Restalrig Circus in Edinburgh on January 24 2020.

The OAP suffered a heart attack as a result of her ordeal and tragically died in hospital.

The 41 year-old had been freed eight months into a two-year sentence for robbing another elderly woman when he struck.

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Stewart was only back on the streets two days when he killed Margaret before later targeting other pensioners at their homes in the capital.

Stewart today/yesterday returned to the High Court in Glasgow having pled guilty to a culpable homicide charge in November last year.

Lady Stacey imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on Stewart, whose crimes span the last 25 years.

He must serve a minimum four and a half years in jail.

Edinburgh crime news: Life sentence for man who killed pensioner after pretending to be a postman to gain entry to her home

The judge said: "The woman you killed was an elderly and defenceless person.

"You got into her home by deception, assaulted her and ransacked her house.

"She died later in hospital having had a heart attack brought on by the stress of what happened in the hours before.

"That is a despicable crime and you should be ashamed."

Lady Stacey added Stewart would be freed "if and only if" the Parole Board are eventually satisfied he is no longer a danger.

The court heard last year heard how Margaret lived alone, was virtually housebound and needed carers three times a week.

Stewart turned up at Margaret's ground floor flat around 6pm on the night of the killing.

Prosecutor Greg Farrell said: "He induced her to let him in by pretending to be a postman with a parcel for her.

"Once inside, he grabbed Margaret by her dressing gown and demanded money.

"She told him she only had £15 in her glasses case. He called her a liar and then searched the flat."

He pocketed the £15 as well as the £200 Margaret kept in a charity tin.

Stewart also rifled through Margaret's handbag as she then told him she was going to get help.

But, he grabbed her again and threw the four-foot pensioner to the ground.

The OAP's carer came to her rescue and Stewart ran off - but his DNA was left at the scene as well as his fingerprints on a Christmas card.

Margaret - who already had a number of medical issues - was taken to hospital.

She was initially able to talk freely, but her condition got worse and she passed away that night in hospital.

A medical consultant concluded the pensioner had suffered a "major heart attack" as a result of "acute and severe stress" from what happened.

Stewart was eventually arrested, but only after he had targeted other properties in Edinburgh where pensioners lived between January 27 and February 17 2020.

He carried out thefts - which he also admitted to in court - by claiming to be a workman doing repairs.

Ian Duguid QC, defending, today/yesterday said it was "sad" that Stewart's "persistent offending" to fund a drug habit had eventually led to Margaret's killing.

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