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VIDEO: Dundee gran Linda McDonald on forgiveness and returning to Templeton Woods five years after Robbie McIntosh left her for dead

In the years following the attack which left her close to death, Dundee grandmother Linda McDonald refused to be called a victim.

Linda was left fighting for her life after Robbie McIntosh attacked her with a dumbbell at Templeton Woods in August 2017 while she was out walking her dog.

When I interviewed her following his sentence a year later, Linda said: “I refuse to be the victim of that person.

“I am not and never will be a victim – that would be letting him think he had beaten me.”

Linda McDonald says she is now a survivor.

At the time of the attack, McIntosh was on a week’s home leave from prison after murdering Anne Nicoll, also from Dundee, in 2001.

Linda’s new campaign – Justice4Linda – calls for more answers about failings in the system which allowed this to happen to her.

She wants the authorities involved to accept more responsibility and give clearer answers on how McIntosh was allowed to strike again.

Now, the 57-year-old is proud to call herself a survivor.

She says: “You can only be a survivor if you have been a victim.”

Focusing on the campaign – along with therapy and her faith – has given Linda a new way to deal with her trauma.

She now considers McIntosh, eligible to apply for parole later this year, “a nobody”.

Linda has spent five years recovering from her trauma and injuries.

Linda said: “McIntosh is insignificant, he is a nothing. He is a product of the system.

“I used to call him a monster and evil – he wanted notoriety – but now I don’t care about him.

“I have no anger towards McIntosh.

“I am a Christian and it is for God to forgive.”

Robbie McIntosh appearing for sentencing following his attack on Linda McDonald.

Despite her courage, Linda will never be the carefree woman she was before the attack.

She said: “I will never be the same again but I have learned to live with that and learned how to handle and accept that.”

After she returned home from hospital, Linda and husband Matt initially considered moving out of their home in Clatto.

However, the couple decided to stay put. They didn’t want their lives to be further torn apart.

Linda pretended to be dead to make McIntosh leave.
Linda opened about about her traumatic experience.

Linda said: “Why should we? This is our home and we love it.

“We shouldn’t have to move because of what he did – that would be another win for him.”

Returning to Templeton Woods

Linda used to be too traumatised to go back to where McIntosh – aged 15 when he murdered Anne – attacked her.

But the grandmother has recently managed to visit the woods again with her husband by her side.

She said: “I used to be afraid but I have walked the path the other direction with Matt. I also went out with my doctor.

“It was so hard and I was shaking but I have been back out to that area and I survived.”

Linda McDonald has found the strength to return to Templeton Woods.

She added: “I still feel like I am being stalked when I go back out there.

“I have only gone once or twice but it has been good to go back out and face it.

“I have moved on from the fear I had and I feel this is me moving forwards and dealing with everything that happened to me.”

Anne Nicoll was murdered by McIntosh at Dundee Law.

The Justice4Linda campaign has given Linda a purpose.

She said: “I knew I had to face my fears to launch it and show others that I am getting stronger and am up for a fight.

“My campaign is what is keeping me alive. I have gone through hell but my spirit is not broken.

“I want people to see that I am smiling again.”

Linda wants everyone to see she is smiling and strong.
Linda is a committed Christian and says it is for God to judge McIntosh. Pic Gareth Jennings.

After McIntosh was sentenced for a second time, apologies from the authorities were made to Linda and a review was carried out into what went wrong.

It said the second attack “could not have been predicted” but recommendations into risk assessments for high-risk offenders were carried out.

Linda says they did not go far enough and her campaign calls for stricter processes around the parole system.

She added: “My campaign is for all of the other women out there who could be the next target of McIntosh or someone like him.

“My campaign is also for Anne Nicoll, who never got a chance to do what I’m doing.

“This is my life now – I’m afraid I will disappear if I stop now.

“I need a new narrative and as part of that I need the authorities to admit that they are to blame – McIntosh isn’t to blame – the authorities are the cause.

“I want to prevent the risk of similar scenarios and make sure all members of the public can safely visit our streets, parks, pathways and woodlands in Scotland.”

For more information on Linda’s campaign, visit