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Rage against machines: pair accused of FOBT damage drop automatism defence

FOBTs: incurred the wrath of two punters in Ladbrokes shop in Cheltenham
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Two men who claimed they were both suffering from 'automatism' when smashing up gaming machines in a betting shop have dropped the unusual defence. 

Gloucester Crown Court heard on Thursday that following a defence expert's report neither man would be pursuing the rarely used criminal defence, defined as 'performance of actions without conscious thought or intention'.

John Dymock, 30, of Surrey Avenue, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to damaging a television screen and attempting to damage a roulette machine by throwing a chair at it twice.

The prosecution alleged he caused £20,000 worth of damage to the Ladbrokes in Cheltenham and that he acted jointly with Aaron Cawley, 26, of Blenheim Square, Cheltenham.

Dymock's plea is on the basis that his actions were limited to damage to the TV screen, and attempted damage, and that he acted alone, not with Cawley.

Cawley has entered a not guilty plea to the allegation and will stand trial on May 8 at Gloucester Crown Court.

Dymock entered his guilty plea, albeit on a limited basis that the prosecution say that they do not accept.

Judge Michael Cullum asked Alison Gurden, representing both men, what Cawley's defence was now that the trance-like state of automatism had been abandoned as a defence by both men.

Gurden said: “The prosecution must show he was acting recklessly or intentionally during the incident. The Crown has to prove that Mr Cawley satisfied the requirement of the criminal damage act. That is a matter for the jury.”

Both men were granted bail, with Dymock being warned that he could not be sentenced until the conclusion of Cawley's trial in May.

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The prosecution must show he was acting recklessly or intentionally during the incident
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