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Defence commissions automatism reports in betting shop rage case

Ladbrokes: pair deny damaging one of bookmaker's shops
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A punter who is blaming "automatism" for smashing up a betting shop has had reports commissioned into the addictive nature of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) as part of his defence, a court heard on Thursday.

The solicitor representing John Dymock said the reports would help her build a case supporting her client's claim that he was in a form of trance at the time of the alleged incident.

Dymock, 30, from Cheltenham is charged along with Aaron Cawley, 26, also from Cheltenham, with causing £20,000 worth of criminal damage at the Ladbrokes betting shop in Winchcombe Road, Cheltenham, on December 10 last year.

Cawley has pleaded not guilty and Dymock, who had initially pleaded guilty, has indicated he wants to change his plea to not guilty. Both wish to offer a defence of automatism owing to a gambling addiction.

Dymock's solicitor Alison Gurden told Judge Jamie Tabor QC at Gloucester Crown Court: "I've done a lot of research into this area. These machines are designed to induce a trance-like state to keep people focused on playing.

'They lost a great deal'

"Both defendants had filled in self-exclusion forms but were invited in. They lost a great deal of money. They spent over £1,000 in 20 minutes, lost it all, then smashed up the machines."

Gurden said she had commissioned reports to look into this and assist her in building her defence of automatism.

The judge said: "I imagine Ladbrokes are extremely worried. You will need to get these reports as soon as possible. Your automatism defence won't get anywhere without a report."

The case was adjourned until a pre-trial review on December 21 and Dymock was granted bail.

The judge asked Gurden: "How is his gambling habit?" She replied: "He's spending a lot of time focusing his mind elsewhere. He doesn't necessarily have it under control."

The judge said to Dymock: "Try not to gamble," adding: "We'll see what both experts say about automatism and gambling machines."

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I imagine Ladbrokes are extremely worried. You will need to get these reports as soon as possible
E.W. Terms
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