Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Man 'terrorised' couple in raid

High Court in Edinburgh
Mooney admitted assault and robbery charges at the High Court in Edinburgh

A violent criminal terrorised an elderly couple after smashing his way into their home using pot plants during a robbery, a court has heard.

Thomas Mooney admitted breaking into Walter and Grace Colquhoun's house in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, in November.

The 37-year-old also admitted assaulting, robbing and threatening to kill Mr Colquhoun.

Judge Lord Pentland said Mooney had "terrorised" the couple. The judge deferred sentence until next month.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Mooney, who has convictions for rape, assault and drug offences, turned up at the couple's home in the Overtown area of Wishaw and rang the doorbell.

When Mrs Colquhoun, 79, answered he began shouting, but the only word she could make out was "money".

She told him to go away and called her husband.

It is no exaggeration to say that your record is utterly disgraceful
Judge Lord Pentland

When he came to the door Mooney lifted a pot plant and threw it at the glass door then began hurling other ones at the front window.

As he tried to smash his way inside he threatened Mr Colquhoun, 82, with a screwdriver telling him "I'm gonna get in and kill you."

The pensioner tried to stop him using a plastic brush but he and his wife were forced to flee to a neighbour's house.

When police arrived at the scene they found Mooney in the house carrying a flat screen TV under one arm and a jewellery box and Christmas cards under the other.

'Appalling attack'

The court heard the bill for the damage caused at the Colquhoun's home was between £4,000 and £5,000.

Advocate depute Morag Jack said the couple were so traumatised following the robbery that they were unable to go back home for some time after it.

Lord Pentland told Mooney: "You have pled guilty to a truly appalling attack in which you terrorised two elderly people in their own home."

"It is no exaggeration to say that your record is utterly disgraceful."

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