Serial criminal robbed woman at knifepoint in Leith flat

A general view of the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
A general view of the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

A SERIAL criminal robbed a terrified young woman in her own home just two weeks after he had been freed early from jail.

Anthony Hannigan burst into the flat in Leith armed with a blade and threatened Sarah Kerr, 20.

She was alone in the early hours of February 3 this year as Hannigan demanded cash.

He filled a suitcase with loot before ordering Miss Kerr to drive to a local ATM to get him money.

A judge heard how at one point he hugged his victim and said sorry.

Hannigan, who had 55 convictions by the age of 26, eventually escaped having broke into two other houses in the capital hours earlier.

He had only been released from prison on January 17 – just 16 days before he returned to crime.

His criminal past included 24 convictions for housebreaking, four for robbery and three for assault.

Hannigan is now back behind bars after pleading guilty today to four charges including assault and robbery.

He is due to return to the dock later this month. The High Court in Glasgow heard Miss Kerr was in bed around 2am when she heard banging and drawers being closed.

She opened a door and was met by Hannigan, who was clutching a kitchen knife.

Prosecutor Liam Ewing said the woman was “terrified” as she begged not to be hurt.

Mr Ewing: “ He stated he was a bad person.”

Hannigan claimed he needed money as his mum would be harmed if he did not get any.

Miss Kerr pleaded she only had £50 – but the thug yelled back: “That’s not good enough.”

The court heard Hannigan went on to “hug her and apologise several times”.

But, he then ransacked drawers in the room of Miss Kerr’s flatmate bagging items including an expensive watch and hair straighteners.

The victim begged him to go, but refused and insisted he would “hurt her” if she called police or did not get cash.

He demanded they go to a cash machine and Miss Kerr then drove with him to an ATM where she handed over £130.

Hannigan said he wanted dropped off at a flat near Hibs Easter Road stadium.

As he got out, he failed in trying to snatch the car key instead leaving Miss Kerr “distressed and emotional”.

She called her dad and the police, but was “too frightened” to return home.

Hannigan was traced at another flat in Leith the next day. A string of stolen items were found including a laptop, ear-rings, perfume and watches.

It emerged he had broke into two other homes shortly before the raid on Miss Kerr.

He had earlier discharged himself from hospital against medical advice having fallen ill.

He left wearing no shoes and initially stole from a property close to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The court heard he even used the toilet while there.

Hannigan then went to a nearby house, but fled empty handed after the woman staying there woke up and found him.

Shelagh McCall QC, defending, said Hannigan was now “appalled at his behaviour”.

Referring to the robbery at Miss Kerr’s, Judge Lady Rae commented: “A young woman who must have been terrified being detained against her will.

“That is a very serious charge.”

Sentencing was deferred for reports