‘I forgive the stranger who tried to kill me’: Dogwalker who was bludgeoned with dumb-bell by convicted murderer in random attack blames lack of police checks and not HIM – as thug is given parole hearing after five years in jail
- Linda McDonald, 57, was walking her dog when Robbie McIntosh attacked her
- He viciously assaulted her in woods near to her home in Dundee in August 2017
- The 36-year-old had been on home release from prison before a parole hearing
- He was serving a life sentence for stabbing a woman to death when he was 15
A dogwalker who was bludgeoned with a dumb-bell by a convicted murderer in a random attack has said she blames a lack of police checks, and not him.
Linda McDonald was brutally attacked by Robbie McIntosh while she walked in woods near her home in Dundee, Scotland, in August 2017.
The grandmother, who was a complete stranger to him, pleaded for mercy, but McIntosh would only stop when her screams alerted two passers-by who came to help.
It would later be revealed that McIntosh, who is now 36, had been serving a life sentence for stabbing a woman to death when he was 15, and had been on leave from prison ahead of a parole hearing at the time of the second attack.
He was given a five year sentence for the assault on Mrs McDonald, but has now been granted an automatic parole hearing.
That’s despite being given an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) by the court, which means he may never be released from prison.
Mrs McDonald, pictured here with her Jack Russell terrier Betsy, had her pleas for mercy ignored by the McIntosh during the attack
Robbie McIntosh, pictured here arriving at court in 2017, had been on home leave ahead of a parole hearing when he attacked Mrs McDonald
Mrs McDonald, pictured here in hospital after the attack, said she had ‘played dead’ during the attack
As the five-year anniversary of the attack comes up this weekend, Ms McDonald has said she has forgiven the murderer, who a judge said displayed psychopathic tendencies.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: ‘I forgive him, I don’t even feel angry at him. I know some of my family and friends feel different.
‘I feel angry at the systems that fail to keep the public safe.’
Instead, she says she blames the checks that saw him released on home leave ahead of a parole hearing in 2017, after spending 16 years in prison for the murder of Anne Nicoll in Dundee.
He had only been out of prison for a number of days before he senselessly assaulted Mrs McDonald in the unprovoked attack.
Mrs McDonald, who is now 57, is calling for stricter checks on people convicted of violent offences before they are released.
‘If you’re really wanting Scotland safe and you’re wanting your policies and your systems to work, listen to the people who’ve survived when they don’t work,’ she said.
The convicted murderer spent 16 years behind bars before being released and carrying out the second attack. Pictured: McIntosh being led away from Forfar Sheriff Court after being found guilty of Ms Nicoll’s murder in 2002.
Linda McDonald (pictured) was almost murdered in a random attack while she walked her dog in woods near her home in Dundee in August 2017
She has since called for more stringent checks on violent offenders before they can be released from prison. Pictured: Mrs McDonald and her husband Matthew leaving Edinburgh High Court in 2017
She also hit out at the Scottish Prison Service for refusing three requests to let her see its report on the attack, with the reason given for denying the request as data protection concerns.
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman told the BBC: ‘As we have previously made clear, we are profoundly sorry for what happened to Mrs McDonald.
‘We are fully aware of the life-changing consequences, for her and her family, as a result of this dreadful act.
‘We have engaged with Mrs McDonald and will continue to do so.’
When taken to court, a judge was shown CCTV of McIntosh calmly walking to the scene of the gruesome attack, before casually strolling back with his hands in his pockets a few hours later.
Soon after the police arrived at his home and led him away in handcuffs.
Robbie McIntosh (pictured) had been serving a life sentence for murder and had only been out of prison for a number of days when he attacked Mrs McDonald
Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs McDonald’s husband, Matthew, said: ‘Given his past conviction for a brutal murder I can’t believe the Scottish Prison Service deemed that this sick individual, who attempted to murder my wife, was allowed to be in the public domain.
‘The fact that they did raises serious questions about the criteria followed by the appropriate authorities and if there had been strict monitoring, supervision and tagging in place we wouldn’t be going through this hell.
‘To ensure no other family has to endure what we are experiencing the Scottish Prison Service and the Parole Board should, as a priority, examine their release criteria and assessment systems. That is the least we would expect.’
The court heard he marched past his victim in the woods before turning back to attack her.
McIntosh had been given a life sentence for stabbing Anne Nicoll to death as she walked her father’s dog in a park in Dundee in 2001.
Advocate Depute Iain McSporran QC said: ‘He was expressionless as he passed her. After a few more steps his footsteps stopped and he ran up to her at speed.
‘She turned to face him and saw him with his hand high above his head holding a metal object which has since been identified as a dumbbell.
‘This was being brought down towards Mrs McDonald’s head. She raised her hands to cover her face and he brought the dumbbell down on her head.
‘She described him as expressionless and he continued to strike her on the head and body. She was certain she was going to be murdered.’
Dog walkers Peter and Charles Connor, who had seen Mrs McDonald earlier, heard her screams and rushed to her aid.
They saw McIntosh crouched over something on the ground with a ‘vacant’ expression on his face before he ran off.
They dialled 999 and stayed with Mrs McDonald until emergency services arrived.
She suffered two skull fractures and five head wounds in the attack and her thumb was broken in several places as she tried to defend herself.
Solicitor Advocate Chris Fyffe, defending McIntosh, said his client felt ‘ashamed, contrite and penitent’ about his actions.
Judge Lord Arthurson described the attempted murder as ‘one of the worst cases of violence I have had to deal with’.