Murderer tried to kill woman while on leave from prison

A notorious murderer who tried to kill another woman while out from prison on home leave was today handed a second life sentence and told he may never be freed from prison.

Aberdeen High Court. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.
Aberdeen High Court. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

Robbie McIntosh - who a court heard has “psychopathic traits” - was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years in 2002 for the brutal knife murder of dog walker Anne Nicoll on Dundee’s Law hill.

McIntosh, known in Dundee as the Law Killer for his horrific crime, was allowed a week’s home leave on the 16th anniversary of the murder last year as he was prepared for release.

Five days into that week out of jail he took a rucksack from his home containing a heavy dumbbell and carried out another horrific attack with chilling similarities to his original crime.

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

A court heard that the remorseless killer - who was due to appear at a parole hearing at which he could have been released from jail three days after the attack - text a friend telling him he’d run out of cigarettes while Mrs McDonald lay horrifically injured.

Speaking after McIntosh was ordered to serve at least five years before he can even apply for parole for the new attack, Linda’s husband, Matthew McDonald said: “We hope this means life means life.”

And politicians called for a “tightening” of rules around the release of convicted killers and called for McIntosh “never be free again”.

A judge at the High Court in Aberdeen told McIntosh: “You present a risk of life threatening violence.”

Sources say McIntosh - now serving a life sentence for murder and at least five years on an order for lifelong restriction imposed today - was likely to spend “decades” in custody before he would even be considered for parole.

The court heard he may never be freed.

An earlier hearing was told that at the time of the attack, McIntosh was to be considered for parole and had been allowed home leave in preparation.

The court heard that Mrs McDonald, who attended the hearing with her family, thought she was going to die and has not been able to work since the attack.

Advocate Depute Iain McSporran QC told the court that Mrs McDonald had taken a path leading to Templeton Woods with her dog.

As she approached a water tower she became aware of McIntosh walking towards her “as if on a march”.

She described him as “expressionless” as he passed her, but she heard his footsteps stop and then run towards her at speed.

McIntosh brought the weighted end of the dumbbell down on Mrs McDonald’s head before continuing to hit her.

Mrs McDonald, who said she could feel blood running into her eyes and ears, screamed for help as McIntosh 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 fled and was later traced in a house wearing blood-stained boxer shorts.

McIntosh, 31, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder committed on August 7 last year in Dundee’s Templeton Woods.

His solicitor advocate, Chris Fyffe, said: “He accepts that there are simply no words that he could offer that could really adequately explain or rationalise his conduct.

“There’s nothing he could ever say which would make amends for the damage he has undoubtedly caused or lessen the impact of his conduct.

“It may be that through his guilty plea he has at least displayed some capacity for compunction.”

Judge Lord Arthurson imposed an order for lifelong restriction and ordered McIntosh to spend a minimum of five years behind bars before he could even apply for parole.

He said: “You committed a savage attack upon her, striking her repeatedly on the head and body with a dumbbell.

“Throughout the attack, which was undoubtedly a murderous one, you remained impervious to her pleas for mercy.

“You, having committed this appalling crime, sent a text message to a friend stating you had no cigarettes.

“The level of physical harm you present is assessed as potentially life threatening.

“It is plan that you have demonstrated an enduring propensity and pose an enduring risk of seriously endangering the public.

“All professionals involved in your case reported shock at your commission of this offence, with all indicating none of them could have predicted this could occur.

“It is concluded your risk is not amenable to change and the author of the report states she cannot foresee a time in the future when this might alter.

“This is not a sentence of five years imprisonment. 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.”