Gambling addict is jailed for robbery bid
A would-be robber who could have kept himself out of jail by dealing with his gambling addiction was yesterday jailed for two years because the judge's “expectations have not been met”.
Ordering that 49-year-old William Ferguson spend a year in custody and one on licence, Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC said he had been given a chance when initially due for sentence last May.
Intimating that he would have handed Ferguson a suspended sentence if he had tried to deal with his gambling problem, handed control of his finances to his wife and engaged with probation, the judge said it was “profoundly to be regretted that the accused has not availed himself of the opportunity he was given”.
He revealed that, instead of tackling his gambling problem, Ferguson had reoffended.
Ferguson, from Ards Drive in Monkstown, pleaded guilty to attempting to rob Russell Cellars in Greencastle on May 18 last year and also to possessing a weapon, namely a metal bar.
Ferguson had gone into the off-licence and told the lone female shop assistant: “This is a robbery love — I need money”, but was told in no uncertain terms: “You are not getting any f****** money here.” Raising the metal bar above his head Ferguson again demanded cash, but was “robustly” told: “You are getting no f****** money — get out.” The would-be robber left empty-handed and, within hours, handed himself into police to confess to the crime.