Hero pensioner ties up would-be-thief who tried to steal his dead neighbour’s ashes

The incident happened on Dalrymple Crescent.
The incident happened on Dalrymple Crescent.
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A HAVE-A-GO hero used a belt to restrain a housebreaker and stop him stealing an urn containing his dead neighbour’s ashes.

The 73-year-old had been asked to check on the friend’s house in The Grange and sprang into action after stumbling across Kevin Lever and his loot.

Lever, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday to breaking into the semi in upmarket Dalrymple Crescent on July 13, stealing £30 cash and trying to steal a laptop and the ornamental urn.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how the 73-year-old was looking after the house while the owner, an 82-year-old widow, was in a care home.

He confronted Lever with: “Are we going to fight?” and when he got no reply, pulled his wrists behind his back and tied them with a belt, the court heard.

Fiscal Depute, Rachel Aedy, told Sheriff Alison Stirling that the pensioner had gone to check the house around midnight on July 12 and saw lights on.

The rear door was ajar and a glass panel smashed. On going upstairs, he found two plastic bags in the corridor, one contained a laptop and the other, the urn.

Ms Aedy said the urn contained the remains of the 82-year-old woman’s dead husband. Lever appeared startled when the neighbour appeared, she added.

When the police arrived they saw Lever had a glove on one hand and a sock on the other. The neighbour told them £30, made up of three £10 notes, to pay window cleaners, was missing from its envelope. The notes were found in Lever’s possession.

Defence solicitor, Ross Gardner, said the way his client had reacted when confronted by the neighbour gave an indication of his state of mind.

Having just been released from a four months sentence, he had tried to make contact with his son who told him he wanted nothing to do with him.

Lever had also lost contact with his daughter. “He genuinely wants to change things,” said Mr Gardner.

His client had contacted the Lothian Substance Abuse Service in an attempt to obtain psychological help.

“He feels at an extremely low ebb because of the family circumstances, which was a kick in the teeth,” added Mr Gardner.

Sheriff Stirling deferred sentence on Lever for reports. She told him: “It seems to me what you need is some sort of support, but that may be after having served a substantial prison sentence”.

Neighbours in Dalrymple Crescent yesterday praised the 73-year-old for his actions. “He’s a hero,” said one.