Armed robber admits siege at Ashford Barclays Bank
A convicted robber has pleaded guilty to holding terrified staff and customers hostage and making bomb threats at a bank in Surrey.
Unemployed Matthew Nutley, 36, told people at Barclays in Ashford he would "blow their heads off" if they did not obey him during the robbery on 28 June.
Wielding a large gun, he told hostages he was carrying a bomb which would explode if he let go of the trigger.
Nutley, of Brookside Avenue, Ashford, admitted six charges on Friday.
Following the hearing at Guildford Crown Court, Surrey Police said the hostages feared for their lives during their ordeal.
The court heard Nutley walked into the bank in Church Road shortly before 1600 BST and forced the bank manager to lock the front doors.
A staff member was ordered to spray the windows with black paint to prevent police from seeing inside and a customer was given cable ties and ordered to tie other people up.
The robber, who was wearing a white paper boiler suit and a mask, handed similar paper suits to up to 16 people inside.
He later told police it was his intention to leave with these hostages so armed officers would not know who to shoot at.
Surrey Police dispatched armed response units, cordoned off Church Road and evacuated nearby shops and businesses.
During discussions with hostage negotiators, Nutley demanded £800,000 in cash and asked for a helicopter to be made ready for his escape, police said.
Several hostages were allowed to leave until only three remained inside.
Nutley, who was drinking heavily, also threatened to cut off the fingers and ears of the remaining hostages with a kitchen knife.
The three eventually managed to escape while his back was turned and moments later, Nutley was talked into giving himself up three hours after the siege began.
Police later discovered the gun was an imitation and the bomb was a homemade hoax made of copper piping and wires bound together with electrical tape.
Nutley, who had a previous conviction for robbery at an off-licence in 2003, pleaded guilty to robbery, false imprisonment, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery, two counts of making threats to kill, blackmail, possessing an offensive weapon and making a bomb hoax.
He was remanded in custody for await sentence on 19 November.
Det Supt Alan Sharp said: "We were dealing with the possibility of a very real threat to the lives of the bank staff and customers.
"This was an incredibly traumatic experience for those inside the bank who just minutes before had simply been going about their daily business.
"Whilst the gun and the bomb Nutley was carrying ultimately turned out to be fakes, to his hostages the threats he was making were very real.
"His behaviour was aggressive and volatile and they genuinely feared for their lives."