A SCOTTISH trade union leader has told of his shock after he disturbed a burglar who was trying to break into his Helensburgh home.

Ude Joe-Adigwe, 52, the regional organiser of the GMB union in Scotland, was giving evidence at the trial of a man charged with being in possession of a knife in the street outside his home near Craigendoran railway station.

Christopher Murray, 21, had already admitted a charge of housebreaking with intent to steal as a result of the incident on August 16 last year.

But Murray denied doing so while armed with a knife – and after Mr Adigwe’s wife, who saw the incident from a bedroom window, told the trial she had seen Murray with “something metal or wood” in his hand, a jury of 11 women and four men at Dumbarton Sheriff Court found the knife charge not proven.

Questioned by procurator fiscal depute Emma Thomson, Mr Adigwe said: “I had been to the toilet at 6.30am when I heard suspicious noises. I went to the door and saw two people at the front window. One was attempting to open the window.

“One ran off. I pursued them until one of my slippers came off and gave up the chase.

“The taller one of the two, who had a hood up, came back.

“He was screaming and shouting and in an aggressive manner and waving what I perceived to be a weapon.

“He was holding it before the sleeve of his jacket. It was a knife. Things happened very quickly.”

Mr Adigwe described the item as having a four or five inch blade.

“He challenged me to confront him,” added the union leader. “He held it in his right hand and kept shouting ‘come on’,” Mr Adigwe said.

“Both of his arms were out, brandishing the knife at me. I was shocked and felt a bit of trepidation.

“When I shouted to Wendy (Alexander), my wife, he turned and fled.”

Defence lawyer Elaine Rae suggested to Mr Adigwe that Murray had been holding a mobile phone and not a knife, but he replied: “I saw it for more than a few seconds. It was a knife.”

Mrs Alexander, 49, a self-employed business consultant, told the jury: “I saw someone waving something about on the pathway in front of the house. He was aggressive with his chest puffed out. He had something in his hand and was shouting.”

She said Murray was the man she had seen in front of the house and went on: ”I was completely shaken and could tell my husband was scared by the tone of his voice. It was something metal or wood in his hand. It wasn’t a phone.”

The jury took little more than half an hour to find the knife charge not proven.

Murray was found guilty of a second charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, though the jury decided he did not do so while brandishing a knife.

He had also pleaded guilty to breaching a condition of bail when the Helensburgh incident happened by being outwith his bail address in Clydebank.

After the jury’s verdict it was revealed that Murray, who was listed in court papers as a prisoner at HMP Greenock, is serving jail time until July for an unrelated matter – and that he was imprisoned for 18 months in May 2017 for possessing a knife.

Sheriff William Gallacher told Murray: “This, by my reckoning, is your sixth conviction, and your second before a jury.

“You have an utter disregard for everyone and everything and, in this case, disregard for a householder who was doing nothing more than protecting his property.

“I find it impossible to imagine I will not impose a sentence which stretches the powers of this court.”

Sentence was deferred until March 1 for the sheriff to consider the possibility of a supervised release order when Murray is eventually set free from prison.