Man who attacked young mum in Hermitage dies in jail

A TRAVELLING fairground worker jailed for subjecting a mother pushing a buggy to a knife-point ordeal in the Hermitage of Braid has died in custody, prison chiefs have said.

John Simmons, 60, died of natural causes on Wednesday after being rushed to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert from Glenochil Prison.

Simmons was 30 months into his seven-year jail term after being convicted of assault to injury and placed on the sex offenders’ register in September 2010. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said the criminal’s next of kin had been notified.

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Police have also been informed and the matter will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. A Fatal Accident Inquiry may be held.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Simmons, who lived in a caravan in Leeds, was wearing latex gloves when he put his hand over the 36-year-old woman’s mouth and threatened her with a large knife on February 9, 2010.

Simmons’ victim, who had her infant son in a pram, fell to the ground and when she offered him cash and her mobile phone, he said: “I don’t want your money.” He then made her follow him until her shouts brought passing cyclists to the rescue.

Judge Lady Smith made an order keeping Simmons under supervision for ten years after the end of his prison sentence.