A former Black Watch war hero jailed for killing an Orkney waiter is believed to have planned to escape from prison using a stolen angle grinder.
Michael Ross – who once guarded the Queen as part of his service with the famous regiment – stole the tool from the prison workshop and made an exact replica of it out of wood in an attempt to avoid detection.
But eagle-eyed guards at remote Shotts Prison spotted the fake grinder and immediately raised the alarm.
Ross, 34, of Inverness, was found guilty of shooting a Bangladeshi waiter in one of Scotland’s most notorious murder cases.
The 1994 attack on Shamsuddin Mahmood, in the Mumutaz Restaurant in Kirkwall, was carried out by a man wearing a balaclava and was said to be racially motivated.
Ross was just 15-years-old at the time of the incident and the former platoon sergeant, who was convicted in 2008, has always denied the murder.
He is serving a minimum 25 years at the maximum security prison.
It is believed he planned to use the stolen tool to cut through his cell window at night before using his military training to escape.
Following the discovery of the wooden replica, which he had painted to look like the original, guards gathered all the prisoners with access to power tools together and demanded to know who was responsible.
Ross then turned himself in.
A source is reported to have said Ross was “amazingly contrite and frank” in his confession.
The insider said: “In many respects Ross is a model prisoner. He’s intelligent and diligent – clearly a product of military training.
“In many respects life in the armed forces will have prepared him well for life inside prison.
“So, with all that taken into account, he got a plum job working on a project which allowed access to power tools.
“Everyone is totally stunned at what’s happened.”
Questions are now likely to be asked as to how Ross – a known and dangerous escapee – was allowed to work with the power tools.
After he was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow eight years ago, he vaulted out of the court and made a run for it befo was rugby-tackled by a court official.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service refused to comment on the escape bid.