OAP went on the rampage after his bet didn’t pay off

David King smashed up a Ladbrokes betting shop
David King smashed up a Ladbrokes betting shop
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PENSIONER David King destroyed almost every television and gaming screen in a bookies after being told he was £5 down on a bet.

Long-time gambler King, 71, avoided jail but was banned from every Ladbrokes store after wreaking havoc in the firm’s Fareham shop in West Street.

At his trial at Portsmouth Crown Court he claimed the gambling firm was run by gangsters and he wanted to put them out of business.

But the 12-strong jury took just 16 minutes to find King guilty of one charge of criminal damage after watching CCTV footage from inside the shop.

Two clips showed King reaching over the counter, ripping two computer monitors from the staff desk and using them to damage the screens.

Giving evidence, shop worker Emma Masterson said King placed a bet on a horse and was expecting a £145 payout but she told him he would receive just £95.

She said: ‘He started getting aggressive with me, telling me I worked for gangsters.

‘I asked him to leave and come back tomorrow.

‘He started picking up tea and coffee capsules and chucking them behind the counter.

‘He then reached over the counter and started grabbing the till computer screens – I told him I’d ring the police if he didn’t leave.

‘He was ripping the wires out of the computer and then used the monitors to smash all the screens in the shop.’

Terrified Emma wept as she was on the phone to police before a PCSO arrived and King stopped.

She added: ‘It was crazy. I was crying.’

King laughed as the CCTV played at double speed in court. It also showed two men walking into the shop and filming him on their mobile phones.

He explained to jurors he had a previous row with the firm and claims they refused to pay out on a bet he placed around a year ago.

He added: ‘I told that lady enough is enough.

‘I was aggrieved so this is why I’ve done what I’ve done.’

He added: ‘My intention is to put Ladbrokes out of business – they’re gangsters.

‘Ladbrokes make rules that suit themselves, they should be not be allowed to do that.’

King, of Hatherley Crescent, Fareham, had put £100 on a winning horse on June 8 at about 5pm this year but was told he would get £95 as the bet was a dead heat, splitting his payout.

He added: ‘When a horse wins how can you end up losing?

‘The bookmakers can’t be expected to win every time.’

He represented himself at the trial and an usher was sent to fetch him after he called the process a farce and briefly walked out of the December 18 hearing after the jury was sworn in.

At an earlier court hearing he said he caused the damage but entered no plea, forcing a trial.

Jurors heard he caused £12,900 worth of damage and caused the shop to lose an estimated £7,000 .

Judge Sarah Munro QC sentenced King, who had a previous conviction in 2009, to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

She also gave him a restraining order banning him from entering any Ladbrokes shop.

King broke down and cried as he was sentenced but later held up court telling Judge Munro jokes.

She told jurors: ‘It’s obviously difficult for him to comply with rules.’’

Gambler says he has no regrets about wreaking havoc in shop

Angry gambler David King said Ladbrokes had it coming.

When asked by The News if he regretted damaging the betting firm’s property the 71-year-old said: ‘No, not really - they’ve got it coming to them.’

He explained he previously spent years gambling at racecourses.

King added: ‘I spent nine years on a racecourse winning money until I found it difficult to get on with the bookmakers.’

The court heard King would be allowed to collect his £95 winnings if he sent someone else into Ladbrokes to collect it.

The betting firm refused to comment.