A violent criminal who claimed to be a police officer during a street attack and robbery on a university student has been jailed.
Michael Mortimer carried out assaults on two strangers within a week in Aberdeen seeking cash and valuables.
The prolific offender struck first on the evening of February 8 this year when he approached a man loading items into the boot of his car in the residential cul-de-sac of Ferryhill Gardens.
Mortimer, 35, asked James Warrender what the time was but when the 27-year-old went to check his watch he suddenly found himself pinned against the vehicle by Mortimer who told him he wanted “everything he had”.
He began repeatedly striking the victim on the head and although Mr Warrender struggled and tried to get away he was caught and restrained.
Advocate depute Alan Cameron told the High Court in Edinburgh: “The accused grabbed him from behind with both hands and kneed him in the back, forcing him to the ground where he held the victim across the chest with his right arm and used his left hand to cover his mouth.”
Mortimer demanded the victim’s wallet and mobile phone and also took his car keys, though he told him: “I don’t want your car”.
As he held the victim on the ground he asked him: “How much have I got?”. He was told £10 and said: “Is that all?.”
Mortimer, who has served seven prison sentences for violent crime, demanded to know the PIN number for Mr Warrender’s bank card which his terrified victim provided.
Mr Warrender was told he better not be lying and also warned not to look at his attacker. Mortimer said: “I’ll cut you if you look at me. I have a knife. If you ID me I will be back.”
Mr Cameron said a passerby intervened and asked what was going on, prompting Mortimer to run off. The man chased the robber, but failed to catch him.
Police were contacted and the victim’s keys and phone were recovered.
The victim quickly cancelled his bank card but later found out it was used shortly after the attack to withdraw £30 from a nearby cash dispenser.
Mortimer struck again six days later when he targeted Aberdeen University student Nam Vo, 37, in a second robbery.
Mr Vo had just returned to the city from a trip abroad and after getting off a bus in the city centre to buy groceries.
Mr Cameron said he was walking on Union Terrace when he became aware of Mortimer tailing him.
The prosecutor said: “The accused said that he was a policeman and asked to see the complainer’s identity card.”
“The complainer asked to see proof that he was a policeman and the accused opened his jacket but there was no identification there.”
Mr Vo began to shout for help but Mortimer grabbed him by his jacket and forced him into a bus shelter.
As the victim was pushed backwards he fell and struck his head on the bench at the bus stop and hit his knee on the ground.
Mortimer demanded money and continued to beat the student until he took out his wallet. Mortimer snatched the wallet and fled.
It contained 200 US dollars, 100 Euros, £40 and 200,000 Vietnamese dong, as well as a bank card.
The advocate depute said: “The victim was shocked and scared and phoned a friend who contacted the police for him.”
The following day, police inquiries at a foreign exchange identified Mortimer as a man who had exchanged 200 US dollars and 100 Euros for sterling that morning.
Mortimer was later arrested at an address in Aberdeen and was found to be still in possession of the 200,000 Vietnamese dong note.
Mortimer, a prisoner at HMP Grampian, admitted committing both assault and robberies, when he appeared in court.
Mr Cameron said that unemployed Mortimer has previous convictions for more than 100 offences.
He has been jailed four times at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for serious assault and robberies, including four years imprisonment imposed in 2011, and also has convictions for possessing bladed weapons.
The judge, Lord Woolman, told Mortimer that he was continuing the case for sentence until later this month to obtain a background report which he wanted to address the risk he posed to members of the public.
Mortimer was remanded in custody.