A jailed ex-army sniper who bound and gagged a Fife pensioner as he robbed her home ran a business while on the run from police.
Garry Roughley had already absconded from prison when he targeted Helen Ritchie after watching her house in Crossford, near Dunfermline.
Following the terrifying raid, in which he dragged her into the house from the garden and bound her hands with cable ties, he evaded capture for a further two years.
As he was jailed for six years at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday, it emerged the 40-year-old had been running a business in Glasgow during that time.
While the nature of the company is unclear, it is thought to have been run under a pseudonym.
It is also understood that upon leaving the army Roughly set up a hairdressing salon in York and at one point held a 12-month lease on a bar in Mallorca.
The High Court in Glasgow previously heard terrified 76-year-old Mrs Ritchie was only discovered – still tied to a chair – after a concerned neighbour noticed a light in her house had been left on.
Roughley remained at large for more than two years after the 2018 incident, despite a large-scale police probe and a Crimewatch TV appeal.
Last month he pled guilty to six charges including the assault and robbery.
It heard Roughley had recently absconded from HMP Thorn Cross in Cheshire, where he had been serving a sentence for burglary, when he robbed Mrs Ritchie.
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.
The court previously heard Roughley grabbed terrified Helen outside her house after she returned from dinner with friends.
He had been watching her house previously.
Speaking shortly after the crime, her son said: “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.”
Roughley’s defence counsel Michael Anderson told the court: “He’s deeply ashamed of these offences. He’s also deeply remorseful.
“These offences were committed against the background that he had been very hungry and there was inclement weather for him to deal with at that time.”
He added: “It’s important for me to impress whilst he was in Glasgow he was able to set up a legitimate business.
“He recognises he needs to follow that through upon his release.”
Ordering Roughley to be detained for a period of six years, with a further three to be spent on licence, judge Lady Scott recognised the seriousness of the crime but noted that he had not used a weapon.
She said: “You must have seen she was vulnerable and this would have been distressing for her. This is made worse by your criminal record.”
She added: “If you carry on the consequences will be really serious. The steps you have taken with regard to your behaviour hopefully point to a positive direction.”
Roughley pled guilty to stealing a vehicle from an address in Tillicoultry on April 20 2018 and using that vehicle with a false number plate at various location including a petrol station in Dunfermline between May 5 and 7 that year.
He further admitted assaulting and robbing Ms Ritchie at her home near Crossford on May 4, as well as cutting the telephone lines.
Two further charges of using a bank card to steal £200 from an ATM at a store in Cairneyhill and attempting to steal from an ATM in Oakley were admitted.
Detective Inspector Kelly McEwan of Fife Division Public Protection Unit said: “This was a truly appalling crime and one of the most shocking that I have experienced in over 22 years police service.
“Garry Roughley left the elderly victim gagged and tied to a chair with no means of escape or summoning help.
“Had it not been for the good fortune of her neighbour spotting her light still on at a late hour and going to check on her, the consequences could have been catastrophic.
“I hope that the sentencing will provide some comfort to her and her family.”