Twisted trio admit to crime spree targeting elderly and disabled

A MAN using a walking frame and a multiple sclerosis sufferer were targeted by a despicable gang of thieves who waged a campaign of terror across 

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

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, the three admitted the string of offences.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheriff James Scott heard their crimewave began on August 1 when McLaren targeted Agnes Lamb, 85, in Valleyfield Street, Tollcross. He snatched her bag and took a purse with £140.

She was so shocked by the attack she moved in with her niece.

On August 11, Strachan, who has a history of drug abuse, and McLaren, targeted 81-year-old pensioner Anthony Strachan, who used a Zimmer Frame.

The victim was making his way to a charity shop when Strachan engaged him in conversation. The sick pair then pushed him against a wall before rifling through his clothing to rob him of £80 and three cards.

The next day, Strachan preyed on epilepsy-sufferer Douglas Ferguson, who is ­registered disabled.

She forced her way into his house in Stenhouse Drive, Roseburn, after he had returned from a casino, forced him to sit down and took £176 from him.

Kennedy and Strachan attacked again on August 14 at Duart Crescent, Clermiston. Their victim, Paul Harrison, 47, suffered from multiple sclerosis and had severely restricted movement. Returning home on his mobility scooter he was confronted by Strachan who asked to use the toilet.

Kennedy is said to have entered the property and restrained him.

Depute procurator fiscal Karen Rollo said: “When Mr Harrison struggled he was told he was going to ‘get a kicking’.” Mr Harrison discovered his wallet, containing £20, was gone.

The next again day the pair, Kennedy and Strachan, offered to carry bags for Gordon McGregor, 56, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is severely underweight and frail. Ms Rollo said Strachan approached him on Gorgie Road as he returned from shops. They went to Mr McGregor’s house in Wardlaw Place, held him and took £10.

The final attack on August 16, saw Kennedy and McLaren steal a handbag from Helen Ormiston, 86, which contained her late husband’s wedding ring.

The pair approached Mrs Ormiston at Harrison Road, Polwarth, and asked her for the time before grabbing her bag, causing her to fall.

Sheriff Scott deferred sentence until ­December 19.