Edge­ley­bank raider spared jail af­ter be­ing caught on CCTV

Stockport Times West - - FRONT PAGE - Don Frame

AGUNMAN who “in a mo­ment of mad­ness” tried to rob a build­ing so­ci­ety in Stock­port, turned him­self in af­ter CCTV pic­tures show­ing him in the act were pub­lished in our sis­ter pa­per the M.E.N.

Manch­ester’s Min­shull Street Crown Court was told that Matthew Fla­herty, 26, had acted on the spur of the mo­ment, in rush­ing into the of­fices of the Ver­non Build­ing So­ci­ety on Cas­tle Street in Edge­ley on De­cem­ber 1.

A gam­bling ad­dict who had amassed debts of £15,000, he thought his prob­lems might be over if he could frighten staff into hand­ing over money.

He pointed a pis­tol at a ter­ri­fied cashier, order­ing her to fill a bag with cash.

Ca­role Smith 58, how­ever, had the pres­ence of mind to hit a panic but­ton which also raised steel se­cu­rity shut­ters, and he fled empty-handed.

The court was told that the weapon he was car­ry­ing was an imi­ta­tion firearm – a ball bear­ing gun.

Sen­tenc­ing Fla­herty, Mr Recorder John Brom­ley-Daven­port told him: “It was an act of in­cred­i­ble folly, and re­ally of great wicked­ness. Quite what came over you I can­not fathom.”

The Recorder praised the cool ac­tions of the cashier who he said “showed great pres­ence of mind, and great courage”.

The court was told that Fla­herty of Old Chapel Street, Edge­ley, had spent the af­ter­noon play­ing gam­bling ma­chines in Stock­port on De­cem­ber 1, los­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of money.

He re­turned home, armed him­self with the gun, and, though at that point he had no de­tailed plan, he thought the pis­tol “might come in handy” in his at­tempts to get cash.

The court was told he was pass­ing the build­ing so­ci­ety branch, which he no­ticed was empty, and de­cided to act.

Michael Knowles de­fend­ing, said: “It has been re­ferred to as a mo­ment of mad­ness.”

He said Fla­herty had sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems in his life and he turned to gam­bling. Mr Knowles said his client had pre­vi­ously been a man of good char­ac­ter and af­ter see­ing pic­tures of him­self in the M.E.N. he had tried to “make the best of a very bad sit­u­a­tion” by turn­ing him­self in.

Mr Recorder Bram­ley-Daven­port told him: “Nor­mally some­one do­ing some­thing like this would get very lit­tle mercy and an im­me­di­ate pri­son sen­tence.” He said how­ever that he was per­suaded it was an ex­cep­tional case.

Fla­herty, who pleaded guilty to pos­ses­sion of an imi­ta­tion firearm, was given a two-year pri­son sen­tence suspended for two years. He will also have to carry out 300 hours of un­paid work.

Matthew Fla­herty was caught on CCTV

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