Scottish architect who robbed bookies after being made redundant jailed

A designer who carried out a terrifying armed robbery on a bookmakers because he had been made redundant six weeks earlier has been jailed

Nathan Ritchie had been working for an architect’s practice in Dundee - but was let go from his job as an architectural technician last summer without a severance package.

Six weeks later he walked into an alleway beside a William Hill bookmakers in the upmarket Broughty Ferry area of Dundee and changed into a full black outfit, including a stocking for his face, that he had brought along for the job.

Ritchie then entered the store and leapt over the counter before pulling a knife on shop worker Alison Edwards and demanding she empty the safe.

Ritchie was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court.

He then made off with £716 before police were called to the shop and a major investigation launched.

But officers didn’t need to look far - because Ritchie, racked with guilt, handed himself in that night stating: “It isn’t fair on the staff.”

Ritchie, a father-of-two, has now been handed a two-year-eight-month jail term for the heist.

Fiscal depute Stewart Duncan told the court that Ritchie had meticulously prepared for the robbery - packing a canvas bag full of dark clothes to change into before the attack, which took place around 11.15am on July 23 last year.

He said: “The complainer saw the accused entering on a CCTV monitor and as she got to the counter she saw him place his hands on the counter and jump up and over in to the till area.

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Scottish architect carried out armed robbery after he was made redundant

“He then pulled out a large knife with a black handle and pointed it at her.

“She pushed the alarm button but he pushed it to turn it off.

“He demanded money while walking towards her pointing the knife at her chest.

“He said ‘give us the money - open the safe’.

“They walked into the back room and the complainer took out two rolls of cash.

“He shook his bag and she placed the money in.

“He demanded more money and she explained that was all the cash in the afe.

“He then said ‘the tills’ and went out to open the drawers.

“He opened one and took £216 them jumped over the counter and ran out.”

Miss Edwards then called 999 and police attended.

But around 10.30pm that night Ritchie cut short the police probe when he turned up at Broughty Ferry police office to confess.

Mr Duncan said: “He said he wanted to hand himself in for a robbery earlier that day.

“He freely stated ‘it’s not fair on the staff’ and said he was feeling guilty.

“He said he had lost his job as an architect six weeks prior to this.

“He said he had covered up and threatened the staff with a knife and took a bundle of notes.

“He said in advance he had put black clothing, stockings and a tammy in a black canvas bag.

“He had then attended the common close beside the shop, got changed in to the black outfit and went in with the knife concealed up his sleeve.

“He then changed back into his previous outfit before leaving.

“He said he was remorseful and needed to tell police what he had done.”

Ritchie, 38, of Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of robbery committed on July 23 last year in Brook Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

Defence solicitor Anika Jethwa said: “He accepts there is no option other than custody standing the serious nature of the offence to which he has pled guilty.

“He has accepted full responsibility for his actions.

“He is not trying to hide or shirk what he did.

“He is ashamed and embarrassed by his conduct and he knows he will have to pay the price for that.”

Sheriff Tom Hughes jailed Ritchie for two years and eight months, reduced from four years for his early guilty plea.

He said: “What’s clear is you have pled guilty to a very serious matter.

“I have read a victim impact statement and it is clear she was deeply distressed by what happened.”