Edinburgh dad slashed with broken mirror as he fought drugged-up thug who broke into his home

A BRAVE dad was slashed on the hand as he fought off a drugged-up crook who had broken into in his home.

By Alexander Lawrie
Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 7:19 am
Details of the incident were heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Details of the incident were heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Epeli Vuase was woken from his sleep to find drug addict Darren Griffiths in his bedroom rifling through his wife’s jewellery box.

Bravely, Mr Vuase, 39, jumped up from his bed and chased Griffiths as he tried to flee the family home in Edinburgh earlier this year.

The homeowner managed to grab Griffiths in his kitchen just as the thief was making to get out the back door of the three-bedroomed property.

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But as they grappled on the floor Griffiths lashed out with a broken piece of mirror from the jewellery box and slashed open both of the dad’s hands.

Mr Vuase’s wife immediately called the police after hearing the commotion and flagged the officers down as they sped to the house in the city’s Saughton Mains area on August 17 this year.

The four officers ran into the home to find the hero dad still fighting with the intruder in his kitchen despite suffering injuries to both hands.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the burglar had “ransacked” the downstairs cupboards before heading upstairs to the couple’s bedroom where he was eventually disturbed.

Griffiths, 48, appeared at the city court via video link from Saughton Prison where he pleaded guilty to breaking into the home and to assaulting Mr Vuase striking him with a broken piece of glass.

Fiscal depute Rosie Cook told the court the couple had put their children to bed earlier that evening and been in bed themselves for around an hour when Griffiths broke in at around 11pm.

Ms Cook said: “The complainer woke up after hearing a noise in the bedroom and he saw the accused hands within his wife’s jewellery box within the bedroom.

“The jewellery box was on a bedside cabinet and on the opposite side of the room from the door.

“The complainer started to get up and the accused became aware he had woken up. The accused left the bedroom running towards the stairs.

“The complainer followed him shouting ‘call the police’ to his wife.”

Griffiths headed to the kitchen to try and get out the back door but the brave dad “grabbed him to stop him leaving”.

The pair were struggling with each other on the kitchen floor when Griffiths grabbed the piece of broken mirror from the jewellery box which had smashed during the fight and lashed out.

Ms Cook added: “The accused struck the complainer on both hands with the broken mirror.

“The complainer then placed himself on top of the accused to stop him from injuring him any further and waited for the police.”

The fiscal added pieces of jewellery were strewn throughout the house after the thief had dropped them as he attempted to to make his escape.

Solicitor Kevin Connor, defending, said his client and his pregnant partner had moved to Scotland from England last year and he had been clean of drugs following his last prison term.

But Griffiths had returned to taking drugs after the couple’s child had been taken into care and he “found it difficult to cope”.

Mr Connor said Griffiths had taken “a substantial quality of Valium” before he broke into the family home.

After his arrest he told police: “I took the Valium and it must have been frightening for the victims. I expect a prison sentence and deserve it.”

Sheriff Chris Dickson said: “I think you understand this will be a lengthy custodial sentence but I will adjourn for criminal justice social work report and to consider a supervised release order and you will remain in custody meantime.”

Sentence was deferred to next month.

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