Saturday, 7th December, 2013
Any home is a potential target for burglars; some are more appealing than others and some offer themselves up with a bow that begs to be opened.
An Angus pensioner has told how she fought off a murderer who threatened to kill her.
Former policewoman and Neighbourhood Watch activist Elizabeth McDonald tackled killer Graham Buist (30), who was sentenced to life at the High Court in Edinburgh last month, after he attempted to enter her property while on the run from the police for a prior offence.
Appealing for new members to join the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, the 79-year-old told how she was confronted by Buist in the back garden of her home in Arbroath as he tried to scale a fence and cut through to evade officers.
Rather than react with fear, Elizabeth grabbed him by the arm and hauled him down, only to be met with a vile volley of death threats aimed at both her and her dogs.
She said: ''I saw this lad talking to my son-in-law and I was worried so I went over and asked what was going on. He tried to jump over my fence and I told him to stop and said there was no way he was getting over.
''He started shouting at me and telling me he would come back and kill me and kill my dogs. I told him to get away from my gate and not to come back, then I went inside and called the police.''
Elizabeth, who is chairwoman of Arbroath and District Neighbourhood Watch, had been looking after two labradors and her own jack-a-doodle when Buist tried to leap into her garden.
She said the police had been hunting the serial thief for a shoplifting offence and had eventually traced him following her call.
Although her instinct was to take the intruder on, she warned other elderly residents not to attempt the same feat and instead to call the police immediately if they feel in danger.
''When I was in the police in Dumbarton I learned that you have got to talk back to these people in the way they are talking to you,'' she told The Courier. ''I wasn't scared of him and I just told him to get away from the house before I called the police.''
Buist was ordered to serve at least 13 years and four months in prison, after hitting Joanne Rennie over the head with a brick and stabbing her to death on September 26 or 27 last year. The Arbroath murderer admitted carrying out the act at the flat they shared in Culloden Road, claiming a row over a loss of money had caused him to ''lose the plot''.
After the verbal attack against Elizabeth he was placed on a high tariff structured deferred sentence at Arbroath Sheriff Court, after admitting threatening to stab her and her dogs; and for stealing a boneless shoulder of meat and two ribeye steaks, from the Somerfield store in the town's East Muirlands Road.
His outburst against the pensioner continued while he was restrained in a police vehicle en route to Arbroath Police Station, as he continued to threaten to return to her address.
The offences were committed while Buist was subject to bail orders for theft of alcohol and a sat nav.
Elizabeth is appealing for Arbroath residents to get involved with the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
A special meeting for new co-ordinators and members to join up to boost numbers for the Neighbourhoon Watch scheme will be held at the Volunteer Centre in Guthrieport on Thursday at 6.45pm.
Elizabeth said: ''We are hoping for as many people as possible to come along and get involved in the group and are keen to have several members.''
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Yesterday’s inquest verdicts in to the deaths of Marek Wojciechowski and Oisin Twomey in Torquay mark the end of the Independent Police Complaint Commission’s (IPCC) investigation in to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s response to a high risk missing person on the 6th July 2012.
‘Tis the season to be security conscious! Christmas is a time for getting together with family and friends to celebrate the Holidays. It is also the time of year where the majority of us will practice the tradition of giving gifts. Usually it should be a time for all of us to enjoy but unfortunately the majority of burglars view it very differently and see the Holiday period as an opportune time to break into a home. Insurance provider RIAS have recently reported that the first week of December 2012 saw a 25% increase in burglaries.
Have you got any pictures or video footage where a criminal or wrong-doer has been Caught Red Handed on your own CCTV cameras, mobile phone or by any other device or technique?
Lion Television want to hear from you for their new BBC One series HOW SAFE IS YOUR HOUSE?