Former army sniper robbed OAP while on run from prison

Garry Roughley pounced on the 76-year-old woman outside her home in Dunfermline in 2018.

Former army sniper robbed OAP while on run from prison Police Scotland

A former army sniper who robbed a terrified elderly widow in her home while on the run from prison has been jailed for six years. 

Garry Roughley, 39, pounced on Helen Ritchie, 76, after lying in wait outside her house in Dunfermline on May 4, 2018.

He bound and gagged the pensioner, stole jewellery and bank cards, and cut phone lines before fleeing.

Roughley, who had a previous conviction for kidnapping, remained at large for more than two years before finally being brought to justice. 

On Tuesday, prosecutors asked judge Lady Scott to order that Roughley be assessed for an Order for Lifelong Restriction – an effective life sentence. 

Crown lawyer Alex Prentice QC told Lady Scott that the circumstances of Roughley’s assault on Ms Ritchie and his previous conviction for kidnapping meant he met the criteria for assessment.

But after hearing from defence advocate Michael Anderson, Lady Scott decided to send Roughley to prison for six years.

Lady Scott added: “I am not satisfied that the criteria for a risk assessment has been made out in this case.

“You did not use any weapon and the violence used in this particular case was limited.

“However, this is a very serious offence. It was planned. You targeted an elderly woman. I am satisfied that the circumstances for an extended sentence is made out. 

“I would urge you to use your time in custody to learn how to turn away from offending.”

Roughley had pleaded guilty to six charges earlier this year before judge Lady Scott at the High Court in Glasgow. 

Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about his background. 

At an earlier hearing, the court heard how Roughley committed the crime shortly after absconding from HMP Thorn Cross in Cheshire.

He had been serving a sentence for burglary at the time.

The court was told how Ms Ritchie was grabbed while outside the house and ordered to her knees. She had returned to the house after enjoying dinner with her friends.

The attacker – armed with a knife – yelled: “Woman, shut up and you will not get hurt.”

The OAP was forced inside, blindfolded and had her hands bound with cable ties. Her mouth was also taped and her legs were tied to a chair.

Prosecutor Eric Robertson told the court: “He asked was there a man in the house, but she told him her husband had died.

“He then said, ‘there was someone here last night’.”

He demanded the PIN numbers for her bank cards, threatening he would “return” if he did not get them.

He then raced off with rings, a brooch, a pearl necklace and a watch from the house.

Ms Ritchie’s neighbour was suspicious when he noticed a light on in her home late at night.

He went on to discover her still tied to the chair.

The robber was linked to a stolen Vauxhall Mokka and £200 being withdrawn using a stolen bank card at a local ATM.

On Tuesday, Mr Anderson told the court that Roughley was sorry for the attack. 

He added: “[He] is deeply ashamed of his actions and is deeply remorseful for what has happened. 

“He has a good work record and ethic. He has previously set up and ran a successful business in Glasgow.” 

Lady Scott also ordered Roughley to be supervised for three years following his release from custody.