Defence lawyer Ian Duguid, 55, was awoken by the sound of voices in the three-storey terraced house in the Murrayfield area of Edinburgh and went to investigate.
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Advocate-depute Gary Allan QC, prosecuting, told how, moments later, the lawyer called to his wife, Elaine, 52: “They’ve got knives.”
She dialled 999 while her husband was confronted by the intruders and told to hand over his car keys.
The robbers were caught, along with their getaway driver, because a police car which was heading towards the home collided with the thieves’ car as it shot out in front of them.
Stolen items -- a plasma TV, a second television, laptop, camera, iPod and bottle of champagne -- valued at about £3000 in total were found in the boot of the getaway car.
At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday Alexander Stevens, 19, of Clermiston Hill, and Jordan Demarco, 18, of Crewe Place, both Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to assault and robbery last October.
Frankie Gilmour, 21, of Craigmount Brae, Edinburgh, admitted stealing a white Kia Rio from outside a house in Silverknowes, Edinburgh, earlier that evening. He also admitted taking part in the break-in at the lawyer’s house, but faced no charge in connection with the assault and robbery.
Gilmour further admitted driving with only a provisional licence, without insurance and refusing to take a breath test in St Leonard’s Police Station. All three were remanded in custody and will be sentenced in Glasgow next month when background reports have been prepared.
Mr Allan said it was their string of previous convictions which brought the case to the High Court.
Gilmour and Stevens were also on bail at the time -- and Gilmour was still on licence after early release from a previous sentence.
Mr Allan described how the Duguids were woken just after 3am. Mr Duguid was on the landing when two men wearing hooded tops came out of the living room and into the hallway carrying a white TV.
As Mr Duguid switched on the lights, Stevens turned round, holding a knife. Demarco had a meat cleaver. Demarco shouted at Mr Duguid: “Where’s the car? Where’s the keys?”
Mr Allan said: “Demarco climbed the first two steps towards him, brandishing the meat cleaver at Ian Duguid, causing him to retreat further up the steps. When Demarco asked again, Mr Duguid pointed to keys in a cupboard and, noticing a BMW keyfob, Demarco asked “Where’s the BMW?”
“Ian Duguid told him it was not there and Demarco then came up four steps towards Ian Duguid again brandishing the meat cleaver in front of him.”
Mr Duguid told the robbers they would need “the square fob” for a Land Rover and the robbers left. “Moments later, Mr Duguid ran into the street to see if he could locate any of the accused. However, the street was empty,” said Mr Allan.
Mr Duguid was made a QC in 2000. The latest figures show he was Scotland’s second-highest earner of legal aid fees.