TWO MORAY MEN put on Polish accents as they threatened a man with a claw hammer after breaking into the home of a local taxi driver.
Now William Christie, 29 and Christopher Smith, 26 are beginning jail sentences totalling eight and a half years after the pair appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.
They admitted raiding the home in Elgin where Michael McMann was a guest of friend Craig McDonald, who was out working at the time.
Christie, from Elgin, and Smith, whose is from Keith, burst into the room where Mr McMann was sleeping, pulled a sleep apnoea mask from his face and demanded information on where Mr McDonald’s safe was.
The court heard that a 13-year-old boy was also sleeping in an adjoining room at the time, as the pair swung the hammer at Mr McCann. Advocate depute for the prosecution, Paul Brown, told the court that the pair had forced their way into the house on November 22 last year at around 2am.
They demanded to be told where the safe was using a Polish accent – but as they swung the hammer Mr McCann stood up and punched one of the men in the face before escaping to a neighbour’s house where he telephoned the police.
Police were told that the pair were driving around in a silver Subaru wearing balaclavas.
When Mr McDonald returned home after being told of the incident, he noted that in one of the rooms three piggy banks had been taken, one with silver coins and the others with copper – but the safe had remained undisturbed.
Later both accused were found hiding in undergrowth near to the car, and when interviewed both refused to answer questions or make any comment when charged. In their defence the court was told that both accused had thought the home was empty.
Sentencing Christie and Smith, Judge Lord Boyd said: “This was an assault on Mr McMann, fortunately there was no physical injury. But this was a frightening experience for him and has also affected the 13-year-old boy who was asleep at the time.”