Thief gets life for murder of Edinburgh grandmother

Robert Buczek with a friend in a Facebook image. He will serve at least 20 years in prison. Picture: Contributed
Robert Buczek with a friend in a Facebook image. He will serve at least 20 years in prison. Picture: Contributed
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A MAN who stabbed an 85-year-old grandmother up to seven times with her own scissors was jailed for life yesterday with a recommendation that he should serve at least 20 years before being eligible for parole.

Robert Buczek, 24, plunged the implement repeatedly into Eleanor Whitelaw’s neck at her home in Morningside, Edinburgh.

She had just offered him a glass of water, after he called at her home on a scorching summer’s day

He repaid her kindness by dragging her body through her house “like a rag doll” and leaving her fighting for her life, before ransacking the Victorian villa for valuables.

Mrs Whitelaw, known as Norah, was found by her 88-year-old husband Stan lying covered in blood. She died in hospital 17 days later.

It later emerged that Buczek, who came to Scotland from Poland two years ago, had been convicted of assaulting an 82-year-old woman in his homeland when he was 14, and taking her handbag containing money.

Dressed in a smart grey suit and open-necked white shirt, he showed no emotion as he was told by Judge Lord Matthews that the murder of Eleanor Whitelaw had been “an atrocious crime” for which he had shown not an iota of remorse.

The incident occurred last year.

The judge, his words translated into Polish by an interpreter told Buczek: “On the 11th of July 2014, a hot summer’s day, Eleanor Whitelaw offered you, a stranger, some water, and told you that her husband would be back with some biscuits.

“When her husband returned he found a dreadful crime had been committed.

“In payment for her kindness you brutally assaulted her in her own home, inflicting blunt force injuries on her and stabbing her repeatedly with a pair of scissors causing such severe injuries that this vulnerable elderly lady died 17 days later.”

Lord Matthews said nothing he could say or do would lessen the family’s grief.

But he added: “It may be that they can perhaps draw some comfort, even take pride, in the fact that Mrs Whitelaw’s last act was to extend a helping hand, but they will surely never come to terms with the fact that it was cruelly turned aside.”

Fixing the”punishment” part of the sentence at 20 years, Lord Matthews said he took into account that the attack was not pre-planned.

Buczek appeared for sentence at the High Court in Stirling after being found guilty by a jury last month. He had denied the offence.

The court heard that Mrs Whitelaw, who suffered from dementia, had fallen to the ground during the attack, fracturing her skull.

Buczek then dragged her along the hallway and dumped her in another room.

He then prowled round the house rummaging in cupboards and drawers before leaving with an envelope of stamps and a box of spoons.

A neighbour, saw him running away the scene and he left a partial footprint in his victim’s blood.

Buczek was trapped by DNA he left on the bloodstained scissors and a water bottle.

Following Buczek’s conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie said: “I share the view of the family who don’t even consider him to be a human being.”

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