Paisley Daily Express

Serial thief caged for 25th time after robbing OAP who fought back

DNA from woman’s hands helped snare lout


A serial crook who was set upon by a plucky pensioner as he raided her home was dealt another blow when he was jailed for the offence.

“Despicable” Denis Smyth has made a criminal career out of preying on the elderly.

But he got more than he bargained for when he targeted an OAP in Paisley and found himself being attacked by the 88-year-old.

He entered her home and raided her cupboards, netting himself cash and cards, at around 6.25pm on November 14, 2019.

But the brave OAP - who uses a walking aid - put up a fight, raining blows on his head as he tried to escape from the property.

And her bravery helped snare the crook, as cops found Smyth’s DNA on her hands and were able to track him down.

Smyth, who has been locked up 24 times, has now been hit with his 25th jail term.

The 51- year- old was caged for 16 months for the offence when he returned to the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to learn his fate.

Last month, Smyth, who has been convicted at nine different courts across Scotland, held his hands up to the crime.

Procurator fiscal depute David McDonald explained: “She is an 88- year- old woman who resides alone.

“She has poor mobility and has to use a walker when she goes out.

“She was within her home address alone.

“She was standing within her living room area writing a card on her unit to a friend.

“At this time, she heard a male voice behind her, at which time she got a fright and the male started talking to her, but she could not make out what he was saying.

“She shouted at the male, ‘how did you get in here?’

“Mr Smyth opened a cupboard and removed four envelopes containing around £380, 50 Euros, a bank card and a council tax card.

“She was of the opinion that he knew what he was looking for.

“She tried to grab her envelopes back, but the accused pulled back and she pulled at his coat and hit him over the head two or three times with her hands before seizing him by his clothing.

“The accused broke free of her grasp and ran out of the house via the back door.

“She was extremely shaken and managed to get to her hallway where she activated the panic alarm which had previously been installed by the police.”

Police arrived and officers, with the help of a dog unit, searched the area, but there was no trace of Smyth.

The pensioner’s hands were swabbed, along with and different areas within her home.

Mr McDonald added: “The accused’s DNA was obtained from the hand swabs from the woman and the rear door.”

Smyth, formerly of Penilee, and now of Greenfield, Glasgow, was arrested in connection with the offence and gave a “no comment” interview.

But he admitted his guilt when the case came to court, and he was locked up for the offence by Sheriff Tom McCartney.

Smyth was caged for 80 months at the High Court in Glasgow in 2006 for targeting pensioners, aged between 65 and 94, during a crime spree across Glasgow and Lanarkshir­e.

At the time Smyth, who was snared after leaving his DNA and fingerprin­ts at the scene of his crimes, was branded as “a despicable individual” by police.

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David Roy and Les Fernie
Raring to go David Roy and Les Fernie

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