NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

John Millarkie jailed for failed Shetland robbery bid

A man who staged a failed armed raid on his local bookmakers as he wanted to get away from Shetland has been jailed for 44 months.

John Millarkie wore a balaclava and fake beard, spoke in a mock Irish accent and demanded money at Shetland Turf Accountants in Lerwick.

However, a staff member responded: "Stop mucking about John".

Millarkie, 55, who hurt an employee's fingers with a knife, admitted assault and attempted robbery.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, solicitor advocate John Keenan, defending, said Millarkie was also a gambler who had wasted a significant amount of money and whose depression had worsened since his wife died at the end of 2011 after a long illness.

The accused pleaded guilty to assaulting the shop staff at the bookmakers and attempting to rob them of £3090.40 on 17 February.

Judge Lord Uist told him: "You went there dressed in a farcical, amateur disguise and adopting a false Irish accent."

He also said the robbery was only unsuccessful because of the bravery shown by staff member Magnus Burgess, who stopped him and called the police.

The court heard how Millarkie burst into the bookmakers early on a Sunday morning in disguise.

'Mucking about'

Staff identified that it was Millarkie and thought it was a stunt linked to Shetland's Up Helly Aa festival.

Millarkie then threatened part-time cashier Tracey Forrester with a 20cm blade before gashing Mr Burgess' finger.

The court heard the accused was a regular customer at the shop in Merran Moads Steps and known to both Mr Burgess and Ms Forrester.

The day before the robbery attempt Millarkie had asked them what time the Sunday opening times of the shop and said he would be along to show them his pet dog, previously given to him by one of the staff.

On the day of the attempted robbery the shop was being prepared for opening when there was a knock at the door.

The court heard Ms Forrester unbolted the door and began to open it before the it was pulled from her grip and Millarkie rushed past, waving a knife at her.

Demanding money

He then began swearing and demanding money before cutting Mr Burgess.

The robber was then distracted when Mr Burgess pointed towards a first aid kit, asking for something for his bleeding finger.

The staff were then able to stop Millarkie and call the police.

When police later spoke to Millarkie he said he was desperate to get away from Shetland and saw the bookmakers as an easy target.

He said he had suffered depression since the death of his wife in September 2011 and wanted to get away.

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