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Killer on home leave who attempted to murder a dog walker may never be released from prison

A notorious killer who attempted to murder a second woman days after being allowed home on leave has been jailed for life again and told he may never be freed.

Robbie McIntosh, 32, attacked Linda McDonald with a dumbbell as she was walking her dog in woods outside Dundee last August.

The attack happened five days after he was allowed out of prison, exactly 16 years after he murdered another dog walker, Anne Nicoll, 34, on the city’s Law Hill by stabbing her to death.

The shocking case caused a political outcry as Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, told Nicola Sturgeon it raised “appalling” questions over the justice system and called for a review of the process that allows convicted killers to be granted home leave.

McIntosh, who has “psychopathic traits”, was previously jailed in 2002 for a minimum of 15 years for the murder of civil servant Miss Nicoll.

Linda McDonald at court with her husband (right)


But he was allowed home for a week’s leave on the 16th anniversary of the murder last year as he was being prepared for release.

After just five days of freedom he put a dumbbell in a rucksack and set out from his home to carry out another horrific attack with chilling similarities to his original crime.

He targeted another lone female dog walker, 52-year-old Mrs McDonald, and subjected her to a violent and sustained assault that left her with two skull fractures, hand injuries and permanent scars.

Just three days after the attack, he had been due to appear at a parole hearing at which he could have been freed from prison.

Lord Arthurson imposed an order for lifelong restriction on McIntosh at the High Court in Aberdeen after he earlier pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

Although he was told he must serve at least five years before he can be considered for parole, the order effectively acts as a life sentence as he can only be freed when the parole board approves his release.

He was warned by the judge that he may never be freed and sources said he was likely to spend “decades” in custody before being considered again for parole.

Matthew McDonald, the victim’s husband, said after the hearing that he hoped the sentence meant life for McIntosh.

Robbie McIntosh after being jailed in 2002


He added: “We are confident in the judgement passed today. On August 7, the attack on my wife changed our lives dramatically. It has been an emotional roller coaster.

“We have received assurances by the relevant bodies investigating the terms of his release and hope for answers to the straightforward questions we have raised.

“Make no mistake, this could have happened to anybody. We hope he never gets out and have concerns about why he was out in the first place.”

The judge described the attempted murder as a savage attack, adding: “Throughout the attack, which was undoubtedly a murderous one, you remained impervious to her pleas for mercy. As she lay on the ground drifting in and out of consciousness you dragged her from the path into the woods.

“Thankfully your victim’s screams were heard by other dog walkers and you were seen crouching down and leaning over your victim on the ground. Shortly thereafter you ran away.”

The court heard that Mrs McDonald thought she was going to die and has not been able to work since.

Iain McSporran QC, prosecuting, said she was walking towards the woods with her dog when she became aware of McIntosh walking towards the her “as if on a march”.

He was “expressionless” as he passed her before he turned an ran towards, bringing down the heavy dumbbell down on her head before continuing to hit her. Mrs McDonald, who said she could feel blood running into her eyes and ears, screamed for help as he dragged her into the woods.

Mr McSporran said it was “a matter of great good fortune” that brothers Charles and Peter Connor were in the area walking their dogs and heard her screams and her dog barking.

McIntosh, who texted a friend after the attack to say he had no cigarettes, was later traced in a house wearing blood-stained boxer shorts.

Lord Arthurson said the killer posed “an enduring risk of seriously endangering the public” and the professionals involved in has case were shocked by his crime, which none of them thought they could have predicted.

He warned the killer: “You must not assume you will be released after five years. When you are released – if indeed you are ever released at all – is a matter for the parole board.”

McIntosh murdered Miss Nicoll in 2001, stabbing her 29 times during a frenzied attack. His early release on work placements in 2016 caused an uproar in Dundee.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/22/killer-home-leave-attempted-murder-dog-walker-may-never-released/

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