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Retired sheriff still battling injustice

5 May 2010

Retired sheriff William Hook explained in court yesterday how he was taken prisoner in his own home and robbed of his wartime medals.

But thief Michael MacKinnon, who covered Hook's head with a cloth, didn’t expect a fight from the 91-year-old.

Former prisoner of war Hook fought back and gave the intruder a black eye, before forcing him out through his back door, where he became stuck in a river and was arrested by police.

MacKinnon pleaded guilty to assault and robbery charges in court yesterday.

Hook admitted he was "perhaps naive" to leave his front door unlocked, allowing MacKinnon to walk in and ransack his home in January. He said: "The chap walked in and stuck this thing over my face. He didn't scare me in the slightest – in fact I like a bit of fisticuffs. He gave me a black eye so I gave him one back.

"He probably thought he had got lucky when he saw me but there's life in me yet and I thumped him as hard as I could. He was probably more scared than me.”

Sheriff Hook was appointed a QC in 1948. He began his career as a sheriff in Greenock in 1956 before moving to West Lothian and finally Edinburgh Sheriff Court until retiring in 1986.

Sentencing on MacKinnon was deferred for background reports.

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