Depressed man pointed gun at pharmacist

A DEPRESSED robber pointed a gun at a pharmacy assistant and then bizarrely demanded just five tranquilliser tablets.

Earlier he had been quietly sitting waiting for his turn at the counter and when she said she would have to get the keys and looked afraid David Ellard meekly walked out of the shop.

He was not wearing any sort of disguise and was stopped by police nearby as he walked slowly along and was arrested.

He offered to show them where he had thrown the gun, a starting pistol, but it was never recovered, said David Evans, prosecuting.

Jailing 45-year-old Ellard today Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: "This attempted robbery is certainly like no other I have had to sentence a person for."

He described him as "a simple man" who is alone and has been suffering from depression.

Judge Aubrey said Ellard was right to hang his head in shame and he hoped that when released he will receive help and would be able to make something of his life.

Imposing a three year jail term he pointed out that the sentence was significantly less than would normally be the case for such offences.

Ellard, of Clifton Road, Birkenhead, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm.

David Evans, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that the offences occurred on February 24 when Ellard went into Rowlands pharmacy in Market Street, Birkenhead.

He waited on a seat until the assistant Louise Davies was free and then produced a gun and twice tried to cock it.

He asked her for five Diazepam tablets and when she said she would have to ask the pharmacist for the keys he just walked out the shop.

After his arrest he admitted what he had done and said it had been a starting pistol. "I thought I would give it a go and if anything went wrong I'd walk out."

David Watson, defending, said that Ellard stopped the raid when he saw the look of fear on the assistant's face. He was addicted to prescription drugs after successfully kicking heroin and had been working until two years ago.