A VULNERABLE Clackmannan man was threatened at knifepoint, marched from his home to a cash machine, and then assaulted during a daylight robbery earlier this year.

David Murphy, 44, and Maria Ross, 37, received lengthy prison sentences after admitting their roles in the incident at Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (Tuesday, July 21).

The court was told Ross struck up a friendship with the victim in the lead up to the offence, and would attend at his home in the town around once a week.

Fiscal depute Michael Maguire said during those visits, she would frequently ask for money, often receiving around £30.

He went on to describe the victim as "vulnerable" in that he suffers from mental health difficulties and short-term memory issues – attributed to old age.

On the afternoon of April 9, Ross attended at the man's home in the company of Murphy, who was unknown to the victim.

The pair spent around 30 minutes sitting with the man in his living room before Murphy entered the kitchen.

Mr Maguire said: "He emerged from the kitchen and began pacing within the living room, and looking out the window – which made [the victim] feel unsafe.

"Murphy then approached him and presented a knife at him."

He raised the knife towards the man's head and said: "I want my sub", and added: "Don't think I'll no stab you."

Despite some protests by Ross about what was going on, she and Murphy ended up walking the man to a cash machine at the Co-op on Main Street.

There, the victim withdrew £50 and handed it to Murphy, then tried to walk away.

But Murphy insisted on seeing the man's bank balance, which he refused before trying to walk back to his home.

However, he was pursued by Murphy and Ross, until the pair eventually grabbed him and pushed him against a wall.

He was then floored and punched repeatedly to the face by Murphy, while Ross attempted to take his wallet from his pocket.

She even grabbed the man in his genital area in an attempt to make him stop resisting.

The victim started screaming for help, and a man sitting in a vehicle nearby noticed what was happening, and walked towards the scene.

Murphy and Ross saw him and fled, and the victim made his way home – only reporting what happened to police the following day, after being persuaded to by his son.

The two accused, both from Clackmannan, were later apprehended, with Ross going on to commit one further offence after being arrested.

On April 11, while at the charge bar in Falkirk Police Office, she assaulted a police constable by lunging towards him and coughing on him.

She did this while shouting that she was infected with coronavirus.

Murphy and Ross were held in custody since they were first arrested, and appeared in court on Tuesday via video link.

Murphy pleaded guilty to charges of assault by threats and robbery, and assault and attempted robbery.

And Ross pleaded guilty to charges of assault and attempted robbery, and assault.

Liam Robertson, defending Murphy, said his client accepted full responsibility for his involvement in the offences, and acknowledged he would receive a significant custodial sentence.

Kelly Howe, defending Ross, said her client had a history of substance misuse, and committed the offences after a relapse.

After hearing submissions from both solicitors, an irked Sheriff Simon Collins QC adjourned the case for twenty minutes before sentencing the pair.

The sheriff complained to the fiscal depute that he only received narratives of the offences "two minutes" before entering the courtroom, and said he needed time to consider the details before sentencing.

When he returned to the court room a short while later, Sheriff Collins said the offences were serious enough to merit "significant custodial sentences" for both accused.

In Murphy's case, he sentenced him to 40 months in custody, with an extension that will see him remain on licence for two years upon his release.

Ross – previously jailed for drugs offences – was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.

Both sentences were backdated to April 14.