Intruder jailed for 'horrific' pensioner murder bid

Michael JamiesonImage source, Police Scotland

An intruder who admitted trying to murder a 79-year-old man in his West Lothian home has been jailed for more than eight years.

Michael Jamieson, 22, punched Thomas Gray before stamping on him and trying to strangle him.

Mr Gray suffered nine ribs fractures and bleeding on the brain and doctors feared he would die from his injuries.

In a letter to the judge, Jamieson said he had no memory of the attack, which he described as "horrific."

The High Court in Glasgow heard he also hit Mr Gray's wife, Margaret, 79, over the head as she dialled 999.

'Cowardly and murderous'

The judge, Lord Armstrong, told Jamieson: "This was a cowardly and senseless, but ferocious and murderous attack on Mr Gray.

"You compressed his neck and stamped on him.

"The attack was unprovoked on an elderly man in his own home."

Mr and Mrs Gray now have to walk with sticks and are in constant pain.

Lord Armstrong told Jamieson that but for his early guilty plea he would have jailed him for 13 years.

Instead, he was sentenced to eight years and eight months.

Jamieson wrote a letter to Lord Armstrong in which he said: "I can't express how much remorse I feel for the victims and their families.

"The crime I committed was horrific."

'He was appalled'

His defence counsel Susan Duff said: "He had no recollection of these events as he was heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

"He was appalled when he realised what he had done.

"He couldn't even bear to listen to what he did."

Jamieson assaulted the couple after he went on a rampage in the West Lothian village of Polbeth, near West Calder, and attacked a total of seven victims.

He began by biting and punching the father of a female friend at her home before he attacked a neighbour and then targeted the Grays.

He also assaulted two other men, including 82-year-old Alexander Faulkner and later spat at a police officers.

Jamieson, whose previous convictions include assault with a baseball bat, was on bail from Edinburgh Sheriff Court when he carried out the string of attacks.

At the elderly couple's home, Jamieson began throwing punches at his victim who fell down.

'Distressed and screaming'

Miss Barron said: "Mr Gray heard his wife screaming but thereafter he has very little recollection of events until the police arrived and he was taken to hospital.

"During the 999 telephone call Mrs Gray can be heard to be clearly distressed and screaming for help.

"Noises can be heard in the background of the accused shouting and of glass smashing."

Miss Barron added "There was little doubt Mr Gray's life was at risk."

Mr Faulkner, who was attacked in Polbeth Road, was found to have wedge fractures to his spine.

A doctor who examined him said he may suffer chronic pain in future.

Police arrived and detained Jamieson but because of his behaviour and apparent state of intoxication he was taken to St John's Hospital, Livingston.

While being escorted into the building he spat on a policewoman.