‘Bad karma’ sees robber ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work

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A RELUCTANT robber was spared jail today (Thursday) for his part in a vicious attack on a vulnerable man.

Victim Dale Murray, 44, who has mild learning difficulties, was beaten up and held hostage while Patrick Wallace tried to plunder his bank account.

But as Eric Haig sat beside Mr Murray in his flat in Galashiels, he told the terrified man: “This is not right. I’m really sorry about this. It’s out of line and it’s bad karma.”

Wallace, 42, is serving a five-year sentence for the robbery after a court heard that he had inflicted the blows to Mr Murray’s face which smashed his jaw.

Haig, 49, of Gala Park, Galashiels, walked from the High Court in Edinburgh today after judge Lord Bracadale imposed a one-year community payback order.

“I accept your role in this incident was markedly different from that of your co-accused who also had a formidable record of previous convictions,” Lord Bracadale told Haig, ordering him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and to get help for his drink problem.

Solicitor advocate Andrew Houston, defending, said Haig had not met Wallace before that day and did not know what was going to happen when they went to Mr Murray’s address.

And after his arrest he told police: “I am thoroughly sorry about the whole thing. I am ashamed of myself.”

In court Haig admitted detaining Mr Murray against his will, assaulting him to his injury and robbing him of a wallet, bank card and £100.

Mr Houston said Haig had not personally attacked Mr Murray but had gone along with what happened.

The court heard how Mr Murray had been supported by his mum until she died in 2004.

He answered a knock on his door last July 21 to find Wallace – someone he knew – and Haig standing there.

Wallace then punched Mr Murray, demanding money. As Mr Murray sat on a couch, Wallace sat beside him and elbowed him in the face, causing his nose to bleed.

“I want your bank card,” he said and then demanded Mr Murray’s PIN number.

Wallace went to a nearby cash machine and returned claiming he had been given the wrong pin. A second attempt to use the cash machine showed there was less than £100 in Mr Murray’s account.

The two men threatened to stay in Mr Murray’s flat until after midnight, when they believed a deposit would top up the account, and began to drink his beer.

Mr Murray arranged to pick up £100 from a friend to get rid of his attackers.

After they left, Mr Murray noticed that Wallace had left his tobacco tin and his wallet, containing a rent payment card and a TV licence card.