South Scotland

Galashiels cash theft hostage man faces jail term

Taking cash from a cash machine
Image caption The court heard how their victim's cash card was taken and used to take money

A man who held someone hostage while his friend helped himself to cash from their victim's bank account is facing a lengthy jail term.

Eric Haig, 49, watched as Patrick Wallace, 42, beat up Dale Murray at his home in Galashiels on 21 July 2011.

He admitted a charge of assault and robbery at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Wallace received a sentence of five years and three months after pleading guilty to the same charge. Haig will be sentenced next month.

The court heard how Haig, of Gala Park, Galashiels, forced Mr Murray to sit beside him at the victim's home while Wallace took the man's bank card and made him hand over his pin number.

Court order

Wallace then walked to an ATM at the Co-op in Galashiels and helped himself to £100 from Mr Murray's bank account before being caught by police.

At the High Court in Edinburgh Haig pleaded guilty to the assault and robbery charge.

His co-accused, Wallace, also of Galashiels, received a sentence of five years and three months after pleading guilty to the same charge at a High Court hearing last December.

That case can only now be reported because a contempt of court order preventing publication had been in place.

Judge Lord Bracadale lifted the order after Haig, of the town's Gala Park, entered his guilty plea.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC told the court that Haig acted as an accomplice to Wallace who assaulted Mr Murray in a bid to get cash from him.

'Bad karma'

The court heard how Mr Murray was terrified and handed Wallace his wallet and bank card which prompted him to go to the cash machine at the Co-op.

Meanwhile, Haig sat with Mr Murray in a bid to prevent him from escaping or contacting the police.

However, Mr Prentice told the court that Haig felt his co-accused had taken matters too far.

Mr Prentice said Haig had told Mr Murray he was sorry about the incident saying it was "out of line" and "bad karma".

"Dale Murray thought that the accused was genuine and had the impression that he did not want to be there," he said.

Mr Prentice said that when police arrested Haig he confessed to his involvement in the crime.

Sentence on Haig was deferred until next month in order for the court to obtain reports about his character.

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