Debt-hit man pretended to have a bomb

The scene of the attempted robbery in Standish
The scene of the attempted robbery in Standish

A MAN with desperate money problems claimed he had a bomb and demanded cash from terrified Wigan bank staff, a court heard.

John Walsh, a 48-year-old customer services manager, had feared his home would be repossessed and so carried out his bizarre bid.

Walsh, of Coralin Way, Ashton-in-Makerfield, pleaded guilty to communicating false information with intent and attempted robbery of £50,000.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Walsh went into the Lloyds TSB bank in Standish on July 4 this year and communicated to bank teller Nicola Armstrong that he had a bomb and demanded the cash.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: “On one hand it is an extremely serious case and on the other hand there are many, many personal mitigating features to it.

“His emotions were out of control as a consequence of severe debt and intended re-possession of his property.”

Defence barrister, Raymond Herman, asked for sentence on Walsh, who appeared via video link from Liverpool Prison, to be adjourned to enable a psychiatric report to be prepared.

“It is important that the court should know from a more expert vantage point about the state of his mind at the time of the incident,” he explained.

Further remanding Walsh in custody for sentence in September, the judge, who will not be available for that hearing, told him: “You have pleaded guilty to an extremely serious matter and a judge will have to balance your personal mitigation which is very self-evident from what you said to police.

“I have some reservations whether that report will assist the sentencing judge beyond what has already been disclosed but I won’t stand in the way of that report being obtained.”

“I regret it means a little while before you will be sentenced,” he added.