A pensioner underwent a terrifying ordeal when she returned from a shopping trip to find a man in her home brandishing a knife.
Andrew Bain, 24, broke into the house in Kemnay and was disturbed by the 71-year-old homeowner as she brought in groceries from her car.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Bain immediately put the knife to the woman’s face – but then had a change of heart and ran off shouting “I’m sorry!”
His solicitor said it is still a mystery why Bain, a warehouse worker, committed the “bizarre” offence.
The 24-year-old, of Church Lane, Kemnay, pleaded guilty to two charges of attempting to rob the woman’s home and assault by brandishing a knife at her on the afternoon of November 12 2016.
Bain pointed knife at pensioner’s face
Fiscal depute David Rogers told the court that the woman had returned from shopping at around 1pm and was placing her bags down when she saw Bain come out of her bathroom.
He said: “She noted that the accused was in possession of a knife and he began to walk towards the woman with the knife and pointed it at her face.
“She asked the accused who he was and he did not answer.
“He then dropped the arm holding the knife and walked towards a side door and exited, repeatedly saying ‘sorry’.”
The woman then looked outside and was relieved to see Bain running off up the street.
‘He doesn’t know why he did it’
Defence agent Michael Burnett described Bain’s actions as “somewhat bizarre” as he “can’t remember why he was that desperate for money”.
But added that Bain has a £50-a-week cannabis habit.
“It’s a very strange case, I have to say,” Mr Burnett said. “But he accepts and recalls that it was in desperation for funds.
“I asked him if it was connected to drug use and he said no, he wasn’t using any problematic drugs at that time.
“He doesn’t know why he did it, other than it was for money and desperation.
“He had an initial reluctance to accept this was an assault, but he accepts that now.”
Sheriff David Hall told Bain that had two things in his favour – the age of the offence and the fact that he pled guilty at the earliest opportunity.
But he added: “This is an extremely serious matter.
“You break into the house of a woman who is 71 on a Saturday afternoon as she is unpacking and she finds you in her house with a knife – it is rightly described as ‘bizarre’.
“Your solicitor has tried to find out what this is about and I think you know fine well what this is about, but you’ve chosen not to say.
“It is only with great hesitation that I am not sending you into custody today.”
As an alternative to a prison sentence, Sheriff Hall sentenced Bain to a community payback order with 12 months supervision and ordered him to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.
The sheriff also ordered Bain to pay the woman he attempted to rob £750 compensation.