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Lloyds customer given two-year suspended sentence
04 February 2011

By Lynda Roughley

A Southport barman was grabbed round the throat by a customer who was caught trying to steal from the till, a court has heard.

Mark Gavin spotted Ian Bugby, who was a regular in Lloyds Bar on Lord Street, behind the counter by one of the tills.

Mr Gavin approached him asking what he was doing but 41-year-old Bugby made no reply and began pressing the till buttons to get into it and then lifted it up and began shaking it, said Brian Forshaw, prosecuting.

“He was again confronted by Mr Gavin saying, ‘What are you doing?'. The defendant proceeded to grab him by the neck with both hands and began squeezing his throat.

”He felt the defendant's fingers go into his wind pipe and was concerned for his own safety. He began panicking slightly as his breathing was impeded.

“He tried to grab hold of the defendant's hands and pull them away but the defendants's grip was too tight and he panicked even more as the grip tightened,” said Mr Forshaw.

“He pushed his arm into the defendant's face and pushed his head backwards and they spun round slightly and the grip was loosened. Bugby repeatedly said, ‘open the till now'.

Mr Gavin struggled with him and meanwhile the police were called and officers arrived and arrested Bugby, said Mr Forshaw.

When interviewed he said he had wanted to leave the town and wanted money in order to do so.

Bugby, of London Street, Southport, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to robbery. He has previous convictions but had never received a custodial sentence.

Frank Dillon , defending, said that Bugby, who suffers from depression, had had a change in medication and had taken drink that night ”which may have contributed to his thought processes.“

He is a lonely individual but had been a volunteer with the CAB where he formed friendships which alleviated his depression.

However the DWP sent him on a three month ‘back to work' course which meant he could not do the CAB work and he lost those work friendships and his depression returned.

Since the offence he has sought help and been referred to a psychiatrist, said Mr Dillon.

Judge Bryn Holloway said that if Bugby had come to his senses when challenged the incident would probably never have been reported to the police.

”This was a serious offence but one at the low end of the levels of seriousness. It was committed heavily in drink with little chance of success.“

He sentenced him to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years and placed him under supervision for 12 months.

He pointed out that if he had not pleaded guilty at an early stage he would have gone immediately to prison.


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