Prisoner who held up Portsmouth arcade at knife-point six hours after release woke up next day in Leeds hospital

Gareth Rugg
Gareth Rugg
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AN ARMED robber held up a terrified amusements centre worker at knife-point just six hours after being released from jail.

Gareth Rugg walked out of Winchester jail and on to a train to Portsmouth in a hunt for a methadone script, a court heard.

But in just six hours he had pulled a knife on the student working at Golden Touch adult amusements centre, in London Road, Hilsea. Rugg then woke up in a hospital in Leeds the next day.

Rugg, 37, had gone to Sainsbury’s and bought a 5p bag he then put on the amusements counter demanding she hand over cash, telling her: ‘This is a hold-up put the money in the bag.’

Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer told how the terrified worker pressed the panic alarm before Rugg turned away, then started coming back towards her.

Finally Rugg left and the worker called her manager and police.

‘I’ve struggled to come to terms with what happened to me,’ she said in a statement read out in court.

‘I’ve eventually managed to get back to work but every time people come in I worry.’

In the wake of the attempted robbery the victim had to take a week off work but she lost her job as she could not take any more time off, the court heard.

‘I didn’t expect it to happen, I now question my judgement all the time,’ she said. And she has since had to defer her university studies due to the attempted robbery.

Appearing via videolink as he was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court, Rugg, who admitted attempted robbery and having a bladed article, said: ‘I’m disgusted with myself.’

Judge Stephen Climie imposed a four-year jail term with an extended three-year licence. He said: ‘You pose a significant threat to the public.’

The judge said Rugg, of Great Meadow Road, Bridlington, Yorkshire, committed the robbery bid ‘on immediate release rather than on licence’.

It happened at about 6pm on April 13 after his 10.50am prison release.

Howard Barrington-Clark, mitigating, said: ‘Effectively my mitigation is three words – he pleaded guilty.’