An ex-army sniper robbed a terrified pensioner in her home while on the run from prison.
Garry Roughley, 39, pounced on Helen Ritchie after lying in wait outside her house in Dunfermline, on May 4 2018.
He bound and gagged the 76-year-old widow, stole jewellery and bank cards and cut phone lines before fleeing the scene.
Helen was only rescued when a concerned neighbour found her.
Roughley remained at large for more than two years, despite a large-scale police probe and a Crimewatch TV appeal.
Detectives got a tip-off he was in Glasgow last July, before he was eventually caught in Newcastle.
Serial criminal Roughley could now face a life sentence after he pled guilty on Wednesday to six charges including the assault and robbery.
The High Court in Glasgow heard how Helen had returned from dinner with friends when Roughley struck.
The thug had recently absconded from HMP Thorn Cross in Cheshire.
He had been serving a sentence for burglary at the time.
The court was told how Helen was grabbed while outside the house and ordered to her knees.
The attacker – armed with a knife – yelled: “Woman… shut up and you will not get hurt.”
The OAP was forced inside, blindfolded and had her hands bound with cable ties.
Tied up victim
Prosecutor Eric Robertson told the court: “He asked was there a man in the house, but she told him her husband had died.
“He then said: ‘There was someone here last night’.”
He demanded the PINs for her bank cards, threatening he would “return” if he did not get them.
Roughley went on to slap tape and cloth over Helen’s mouth, also tying her legs to a chair. He then raced off with items from the house.
Helen’s neighbour was suspicious when he noticed a light on in her home late at night.
He went on to discover her still tied to the chair.
The jewellery stolen included rings, a brooch, a pearl necklace and a watch.
The robber was linked to a stolen Vauxhall Mokka and £200 being withdrawn using a stolen bank card at a local ATM.
The robbery went on to feature on BBC’s Crimewatch in 2019 and there was a further media appeal last year.
Roughley emerged as a suspect and he was seen in Glasgow’s Bridgeton using a different name in July 2020.
He was eventually held for the robbery in October last year, after being arrested in Newcastle.
Prosecutors have moved for a full-risk assessment to be carried out on Roughley, which could lead to an Order for Lifelong Restriction being imposed.
His convictions included kidnapping, burglary and theft.
Lady Scott adjourned the case until May 18 in Edinburgh.
Joy over twins shattered
As detectives searched for Roughley, Helen’s son told The Courier of his fears for his mother.
He said she had returned home from a meal with friends and Roughley grabbed her from behind.
He said Roughley, speaking in an Eastern European accent, kept demanding to know where the safe was.
“The first thing I thought was she could have had a heart attack and died.
“If the neighbour hadn’t come, she doesn’t know if she would have been there in the morning because it was so tight and the circulation in her hands was horrendous.
“It was supposed to be a really joyful time for our family because myself and my partner had just had twins on the Monday.”