In an open interview with the BBC, a former Scottish gangster shared his story of violent crime. This included how he “laughed off” an attack from knife-wielding criminals shortly after being released from prison. 

Ian MacDonald (60), who was raised in Glasgow’s poor Blackhill area, stole cars and shoplifted as a child after his strict disciplinarian father divorced his wife and five kids. 

MacDonald was a student in an approved school, a place where young people can be sent by courts. He then went to a Borstal, a youth detention center. Gary MacDonald, his brother was sentenced at 18 to eight years for cutting a man’s throat.

In an interview with LADBible, MacDonald stated that it was a “life of crime” for him. We used to just steal cars. When the jewellers shops opened we would just draw. [park]Take the cash and go outside.

“The offenses got worse over time.” 

They went on to include armed robbery and an attempted £6million bank heist, which landed MacDonald 10 years in prison, where he served time alongside the IRA, Italian gangsters and serial killers.  

Ian 'Blink' MacDonald, 60, who grew up in a working-class family in Glasgow's deprived Blackhill neighbourhood, began stealing cars and shoplifting as a teenager after his 'strict disciplinarian' father left his wife and five children. He shared his experiences with LADBible

Ian MacDonald (60), a member of a working class family from Glasgow’s Blackhill, started shoplifting and stealing cars as a teenager, after his father, a strict disciplinarian, left him and his five children. LADBible was his first port of call.

MacDonald, a tough and streetwise man, said that he was capable of attending the schools approved by the government, but that the treatment at the Borstal, both from the officers and other inmates, was shocking.

Borstal is tough and prison officers can be very brutal. Because borstal was meant to deter and detention centres were supposed to deter, most of the prisoners officers were former soldiers.

“You rise early, get dressed, put your toothbrushes on, then go downstairs to make floors. 

Former criminal described his encounter with a Liverpool 21-year old man who called him “Jock” – an insulting term used for Scots – while he was 18 years old in a Borstal.

“Who are you calling Jock?” You call me Jock one more time and I’ll f*****g do you in”. I was so happy that he called me Jock again. 

MacDonald later wrote a book about his experiences after turning his back on crime

MacDonald eventually wrote a book on his experience after he turned his back against crime 

“At that time we had only radios. There were no televisions back then. I placed a PP9 lithium battery [a large battery from the back of a radio] in a sock. As he lay in bed, I asked him if he still wanted to refer to me as Jock. He was lying on his bed and I said to him, “You still want me to call you Jock?”

He was 22 when he began to carry a gun and used it to protect security personnel as well as post workers. 

In his 20s, he got the most important job in his professional career when a friend was running away. from HMP Shotts, a prison in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, who presented him with the opportunity to be part of a £6million bank heist. It was the holding bank of all Devon.  

MacDonald accepted the role of getaway driver.    

There were no alarms at the bank’s main floor, making it easier to commit large-scale bank robberies. The branch had 15 to 16 employees. 

“All staff lay on the floor. [The robbers were asking] “Where’s the f*****g money? “Where’s the key?” Brian Thomas, the manager was my name. After all these years, I remember him saying to his staff, “Just let me open your door.” My staff shouldn’t be hurt.”

In frustration, one member of the team shot his gun at the ceiling. A chunk of plaster fell and struck a woman’s head.   

MacDonald stated that a 30-year-old girl in Scotland was shot in her head. However, it is just as terrible to reveal the truth because the girls were traumatized. She was not hurt, so I apologized to her. Although there was not a serious injury, I could see her mental state afterwards.

MacDonald was able to escape from a caravan site nearby, despite the fact that police arrived on the scene.  

He managed to escape after five weeks of being on the run and met his girlfriend, Sheila in a Chinese restaurant. This seasoned criminal was aware that he was wanted by the police and was always on guard.

“A man and a women came in” [to the restaurant]And I immediately said, “Bye, undercover coppers.” You’re starting over, she said. She said “Oh there you are, starting again!” I replied, “Well, what can you expect? I’m running! “It’s not to be silly!” 

MacDonald served time alongside members of the IRA, the gang behind the £26million Brink's Mat robbery and Italian gangsters. At one point he was in a cell next to Scottish serial killer Archibald Hall, also known as Roy Fontaine

He also met serial killer Colin Ireland, known as the 'gay slayer' because of the sexuality of his victims

MacDonald served time alongside members of the IRA, the gang behind the £26million Brink’s Mat robbery and Italian gangsters. One time he was locked up next to Archibald Hall (also called Roy Fontaine), the Scottish serial killer. Colin Ireland, a serial killer known for his sexuality and being the “gay slayer”, also visited him.

Four men were seen celebrating the success of one group member in passing a driving test. 

MacDonald replied, “So now I’m relaxing.” “After two hours, all of these people came in. However, they all wore civilian clothes. They were police.

“I’m going, is that one of my enemy?Then I put my hand into the pocket of my gun and voila! They were the ones who jumped on top of my head first. They were the four to five who took driving lessons. All of them were police.

MacDonald recalled that couple had pointed a pen towards him at his table weeks later. He believed it was a microphone.  

MacDonald was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his part in the £6million bank heist and another two-and-a-half years for gun possession.

The first nine years in prison were spent in Category A prisoners, for criminals who are identified as being highly dangerous to the public or national security. 

MacDonald served time alongside members of the IRA, the gang behind the £26million Brink’s Mat robbery and Italian gangsters. 

MacDonald was locked in the same cell as Archibald Hall (also known by Roy Fontaine), a serial killer from Scotland. Hall was also nicknamed Archibald Fontaine or “the Monster Butler” because some of his crimes occurred while he was serving the aristocracy. Five people were killed and he was sentenced to a life imprisonment. 

During his 20s, MacDonald was approached by a friend who was on the run from HMP Shotts, a prison in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, who presented him with the opportunity to be part of a £6million bank heist. His role was the getaway driver

During his 20s, MacDonald was approached by a friend who was on the run from HMP Shotts, a prison in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, who presented him with the opportunity to be part of a £6million bank heist. He was the getaway driver.

Colin Ireland was a serial killer and was in prison with MacDonald.  

It was too much for me. It was so overwhelming that I kept asking myself, “When is the black tunnel going down ?”…?” Let me be honest, the three first years were rough. I was constantly telling myself “Please God! I won’t get into trouble again!” .”… To anyone, it is not glamorous. It’s very lonely.   

He said that he had witnessed two men hang themselves inside prison and it was the worst thing he has ever experienced. It was one of the most horrific, but there were numerous other incidents.

MacDonald was sentenced to 10 years, five months and released in 2001. 

But before leaving prison he found himself struggling with the idea of life on the outside, knowing he might return to a life of crime. 

MacDonald was released in 2001 after serving 10 years and five months of his sentence. He has since turned his back on a life of crime

MacDonald was sentenced to 10 years, five months and released in 2001. MacDonald has since switched his back to a life in crime.  

He said that although he wanted to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, he was not able to stop himself from saying so. He asked, “Where are I going to find the money to purchase a house or a car?” Then I thought, “Am I going to have the nerve to do this over again?” Because I had no life skills. That shocked me.  

After he got out of prison, he said that he had done something to “someone” who he will not name. 

He was one of the New Kids on the Block, who had made a splash during the time MacDonald was behind bars.  

Il recalled an incident he and them had, when he was just 40. 

He stated, “They were trying be funny with me.” They believed I was an older man. They thought I was an old man.

‘For one year I kept getting told that I was dead man walking by everyone. But I just kept repeating to them, “I’ll still be the last man standing.”

He received seven Osman notices from the British Police, warning him of a possible death threat. 

His car was registered with the number BL1NK and a bomb was located under it in May 2009.

It would have destroyed half the buildings nearby if it had detonated. This discovery led to 16 residents being evacuated from nearby homes.   

MacDonald was then ambushed four days later by a group men.

He said, “They were amateurs.” I flew and the boy said to me, “Come on you’re supposed be a gangster.” They thought they had seen something in me. [a weapon]I didn’t have any weapons, because I thought, With the bomb, police would be looking at me, because that was major news up there.

“Then, they just brought out knives but my mom’s house was right around the corner. My life has been filled with adventures. I was 47 and 48 years old, but I can only run 200 meters. [to safety]But I have never run.

“I began fighting with them, but they got me in a church gate ironically. One of the men was sitting on my legs, while the other tried to cut my throat. But they did my face.

MacDonald has the scar still visible on his forehead.  

He said that the scar was called a Mars Bar in Glasgow. “It was hanging off.” [my face]I laughed, as they didn’t get my neck. 

After MacDonald was approached by one of the gang members, MacDonald called for a truce with his rivals. He said, “It was going to murder.” That was all.   

A book was published two years later.

He stated that his life had “kind of gone normal” since then. “I was an ex-criminal and that was it.

“I simply take every day as it comes.” I would love to have money. However, it is not the only thing that matters. I’m glad I’m still alive. It was not what I expected to see. Every day is an opportunity to be a blessing.