Ex-soldier gets three years for robbery

Martin Gibb and an accomplice tied up a man and robbed him at a house in Bridgeford Avenue, Bellshill
Martin Gibb and an accomplice tied up a man and robbed him at a house in Bridgeford Avenue, Bellshill

A former soldier has been jailed for three years for robbing a man then trying to repeat the trick just three weeks later.

The victim was tied up by Martin Gibb and an accomplice who’d heard there was “easy money” to be had at the house in Bridgeford Avenue, Bellshill.

The pair had a knife and they pushed Ryan Downie to the floor. He had his hands bound with rope and duct tape was put over his mouth. The robbers demanded money and the code for a safe before making off with £600.

Gibb (42), of Auldhame Street, Coatbridge, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court and admitted assaulting and robbing Mr Downie in December 2015.

He also admitted returning to the house with another man two days before Christmas that year, entering uninvited and punching Mr Downie. No money was stolen on that occasion.

It was said they went to the house on the pretext of buying a digibox Mr Downie had advertised.

Diarmid Bruce, defending, admitted it was a “very serious” matter, but urged Sheriff Thomas Millar to consider an alternative to prison.

Mr Bruce said his client had spent 15 years in the army and “seen some horrific things” during stints in war zones including Iraq.

He told the court: “As a result he suffers from post-traumatic stress. He spent much of his life helping and protecting people, but now finds himself in an unfortunate situation.

“His partner and other family members are in court to support him and if there is any option other than custody he would take it.”

Passing sentence, Sheriff Millar accepted Gibb has suffered as a result of his army experiences, but told him: “Someone suggested there was easy money to be made by targeting Mr Downie.

“You and another man tied him up and robbed him. Not content with that, some weeks later you returned to get more money.

“I’m afraid I can’t deal with this other than by a custodial sentence.”