Disabled victim of assault brands ‘scum’ gang 4-year sentences too short

Jason McLaren, 31, Michael Kennedy, 22 and Catherine Strachan, 50, went on callous mugging spree
Jason McLaren, 31, Michael Kennedy, 22 and Catherine Strachan, 50, went on callous mugging spree
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A DISABLED man attacked by a gang of thieves targeting the elderly and vulnerable has branded them “scum” and said their four-year sentences were too short.

Twisted trio Jason McLaren, 31, Michael Kennedy, 22 and Catherine Strachan, 50, went on a mugging spree during a fortnight of mayhem in August.

The three admitted a string of offences at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year.

McLaren and Strachan have been sentenced to four years in prison while Kennedy remains in custody ahead of sentencing on Friday.

Paul Harrison, 47, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and has severely restricted movement, was attacked by Strachan and Kennedy in his home in Duart Crescent, Drumbrae.

The sick pair struck after Strachan went to Mr Harrison’s door and asked to use the toilet.

After Strachan, who has a history of drug abuse, returned from the toilet, she asked to have a glass of water.

Mr Harrison, who had not had time to close the door, said: “I was keeping an eye on her. She was in the toilet for the shortest time I have ever known anyone to be in there for.”

Unbeknownst to Mr 
Harrison, Kennedy had entered uninvited through the front door and come into the living room.

He then restrained Mr Harrison in his mobility chair while Strachan searched the house for money.

When Mr Harrison struggled, he was told he was going to “get a kicking”.

Mr Kennedy said: “I had been opening the curtains and a guy said, ‘what are you opening them for? We want them shut’.”

Once the pair had left, Mr Harrison discovered his wallet, containing £20, was gone.

He said: “When I was being restrained, I felt angry, not frightened. They were picking on people who were easy 

“If anybody comes to my door and asks to use the toilet again, I don’t care how desperate they are, they are not getting through my door.”

Asked about McLaren and Strachan’s four-year sentences, Mr Harrison said: “They should have got four years for each of their crimes.

“They knew exactly what they were doing, they preyed on the vulnerable. They are scum.”

The gang’s crimewave began when McLaren targeted Agnes Lamb, 85, in Valleyfield Street, Tollcross, snatching her bag and stealing a purse with £140.

Strachan and McLaren also targeted 81-year-old pensioner Anthony Strachan, who used a Zimmer frame, as he made his way back from a charity shop, pushing him against a wall and stealing £80 and three bank cards. The next day, Strachan preyed on epilepsy sufferer Douglas Ferguson, who is registered disabled.

Between them, the trio targeted six victims.