When 53-year-old Linda McDonald from Dundee, UK, was walking her Jack Russell Terrier in the woods near to her home, she assumed it was a day much like any other. She was nearly done with the walk and was looking forward to a nice cup of tea back at home as the weather was chilly.
As she walked through the woods on her way back home, the last thing she expected to encounter was a convicted murderer with a dumbbell in his hand…
McDonald loved the wooded areas around her home. They were within walking distance and her dog Betsy loved playing in them during walks. At one point as dusk fell, McDonald spotted a man with no expression on his face walking towards her carrying something that appeared to be heavy. What happened next was the last thing she or her dog were expecting.
As she walked through the Templeton Woods, a man called Robbie McIntosh approached her with a dumbbell in hand and without warning began hitting her with it. As Betsy barked furiously, McDonald pleaded with her attacker not to hurt or rape her but to no avail. This man had one thing and one thing only on his mind: murder.
As she pleaded with the man not to hurt her, McDonald noticed that he displayed zero emotion on his face whatsoever. The victim explained that as she was hit repeatedly over the head with the heavy object, she tried to remain conscious to get a proper look at the man. At the same time, she recalls, she “played dead” and slowed down her breathing in the hopes that her attacker would leave her there for dead and go away.
At the time of the attack, McDonald was convinced that she was going to die. “I thought that if I stopped breathing and played dead it would finish and he would go away,” she said according to a Daily Mail report. “I said a prayer to God and went somewhere else peaceful in my own mind to remove myself from what was happening to me,” she added.
McDonald, who miraculously survived the attack, told reporters that she had taken Betsy out for a walk in the woods like she did every day. In her own words: “I met a few people, and then I was aware of this man walking towards me,” she said. “My sixth sense told me that something wasn’t right and I was very uncomfortable. He was a really tall figure, and he had a military-style march,” she recalled.
McDonald recounts that she felt relief when she walked past the man until she suddenly heard heavy footsteps behind her. It was at that point that she was attacked. “There was a nanosecond of silence when the footsteps stopped, and I just knew that something bad was going to happen. I turned around, and he was running towards me,” recalled McDonald.
According to McDonald: “I had no chance to react before he struck me on the right-hand side of my head. … The blow stunned me, and immediately I felt lethargic, but I also realized immediately that I was going to have to fight if I was going to survive.” It was then that the victim pleaded with her attacker to spare her life and to not carry out whatever plan he had.
McDonald also recalls that when she told the man, “Please don’t do this,” he was expressionless and seemed to enjoy that his victim was pleading with him. “He was expressionless, but he also looked like he was enjoying me begging for my life,” she said. “I knew he was going to strike again and I decided I was going to have to scream and make a noise.”
McDonald recalls that at one point she felt warm blood on her head as her eyesight began to falter. “Then the blows continued, and I felt warm blood,” she said. “I couldn’t see and thought I was going blind,” she recalled. It was at this point that the attacker thought the job was done and he left his victim there in the woods to die alone.
McDonald further recalls that she was initially knocked out on the path she was on and dragged quickly into the more wooded area close by. “I must have passed out because I came round and was aware I was on my tummy, being dragged very quickly into the wood,” she said.
The victim also recalls that she was stripped almost naked by her attacker and she was unsure whether he was going to rape her or not. “The clothes on my upper body were off, and I thought he was going to rape me. He was leaning over me, and it was at this point I decided to stop breathing and play dead,” she said.
As McDonald was all but convinced that she was going to die then and there, she decided to take herself “somewhere else” in her mind. “I took myself somewhere else, and at that point, I felt peaceful and had no pain. I thought about my family and how distressed they would be if I left them,” she said.
“I prayed to God, and above all else I was determined that I would live to be able to describe my attacker so that he wasn’t able to do it to anyone else ever again,” recalled McDonald who was fighting to remain conscious at this point so she could get a good look at her attacker should she end up surviving.
All the poor victim could think about at this stage was how she could help to stop this man doing such a thing to a person in the future. “My overriding thought was to make sure that I could describe every detail of that man. I had to make sure he was caught,” she said. But the next thing she remembers is two men leaning over her.
Raise The Alarm
When Charles and Peter Connor were walking their dogs in the same woods, they stumbled upon McDonald who was bleeding profusely from the head and clearly in distress. Once they ascertained she was still alive, they raised the alarm and contacted 911 then and there.
As Dozens of police officers rushed to the scene of the crime, they simultaneously launched a massive manhunt to find the perpetrator before he struck again. Their search soon led them to the village of Bridgefoot, north of Dundee, where they found the suspect: 31-year-old McIntosh.
The prison system in the UK is an interesting one and far more lenient than the system in the states. For whatever reasons, McIntosh was allowed out of prison on “home leave” for a week having stabbed another dog walker to death years ago in nearby Law Hill. McIntosh was serving a 16-year sentence for the crime.
McIntosh had already been assessed to have “psychopathic traits” by professionals in prison. He was rightly convicted for murder but was allowed home for a week on the 16th anniversary of that murder. The inmate was granted a short leave prior to his release from prison. But after just five days of freedom, this man’s urges got the better of him, and he went into the woods with a dumbbell to look for another victim.
After McIntosh was caught and taken to the High Court of Aberdeen, Lord Arthurson imposed an order for lifelong restriction on the suspect after he pleaded guilty to trying to murder McDonald. According to the judge, McIntosh was to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.
Back to Work
Following the brutal attack, McDonald and her husband Matt are doing what they can to make life normal again. McDonald had already gone back to her job as a medical secretary, and the couple has vacations planned already. “I used to be the one in control of my family. I looked after everyone, but since the attack, they have had to look after me,” she said, concluding, “I’m getting my life back, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.”