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Couple tied man to building site and left him to bleed

A couple lured a man to a city centre building site where they then proceeded to rob him and tie him to a staircase.

Shaun Murray and Amy Smith approached the man as he was watching filming take place on October 15 last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how the pair were offering “sexual services” to which the victim accepted, before being taken to a Liverpool alleyway and struck over the head by Murray.

Lead prosecutor, Gerald Baxter, said that the man had been “watching film crews” at approximately 6:20pm when he was then approached by Murray, 35, and Smith, 27, reports Liverpool Echo.

Mr Baxter stated: “They were offering sexual services from the second defendant and the victim agreed to pay for such services.

“They then took him down a side street to a building site and of course he was then expecting to receive the services but was suddenly hit over the head by Shaun Murray and knocked to the floor.

“His head was bleeding but he says he can’t say there was a weapon.”

As he lay bleeding on the floor Smith and Murray went through his pockets and took a £20 note.

Mr Baxter said they took him to a staircase where he heard Murray say “get the ties”.

He was tied to the stairs and left but managed to escape by burning through the cable ties with a cigarette lighter.

Mr Baxter said he went back to Lime Street where he was rescued and taken to hospital.

He suffered a wound to the back of his head, the court heard.

Mr Baxter said Murray was arrested on November 15 and mostly answered no comment.

He denied being involved in the robbery, claiming Smith “must have been with another boyfriend”, however enquiries discovered the other man was in prison at the time of the robbery.

Amy Smith was spared jail after she and her then boyfriend lured a man to a building site where he was hit over the head, robbed and tied up

Mr Baxter said Murray was later identified in an identity parade and Smith was also later interviewed where she gave a prepared statement.

Murray, of Vauxhall Road, Liverpool city centre, and Smith, now of Graham Road, Sheffield, both pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment on the day of their trial, and a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was dropped.

Charles Lander, defending Murray, said his client was adamant he had “never used any weapon” and said it was a “spur of the moment” incident with the cable ties found at the building site.

Mr Lander said Murray hadn’t been convicted of a violent offence since 2010 and said he had been addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.

He said Murray and Smith had lost a child aged three and shared three children who are in foster care.

He explained Murray’s father died in 2016 and his mother died in 2014 adding he had experienced “a lot of tragedy”.

Mr Lander asked the judge to consider the impact of the pandemic on prisoners and said he was spending his time constructively while in custody.

The court heard on a previous occasion Amanda Stonehouse, who was “very experienced in support and social work” and said she had been working with Smith as part of the Pause Creating Space for Change charity.

Ms Stonehouse said Smith had been “extremely receptive to the programme” which was voluntary.

Jonathan Anders, defending Smith, said she pleaded guilty to the offences on the basis she was coerced, which was denied by Murray but accepted by the Crown.

He said Smith had experienced “very difficult circumstances” as a child and an adult.

Mr Anders said if spared jail Smith would be accepted onto a programme called ‘New Start’ where she would live in monitored shared accommodation.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, said it must have been a “very frightening experience” for the victim.

Sentencing Murray, Judge Watson noted he had become a mentor to other inmates while in custody and had stopped taking drugs.

Murray was jailed for three years and seven months.

Sentencing Smith, the judge said there was a “wholly exceptional set of circumstances that apply” and said she was in an “extremely different position” which was largely due to her own efforts and progress.

He said her convictions “although numerous are in reality very different from the convictions of Murray”, who has convictions for burglary, wounding and repeated offences of theft.

The judge said Smith had committed two offences of shoplifting and 13 offences of not buying a railway ticket.

Judge Watson said she had “extremely strong personal mitigation” and a realistic prospect of rehabilitation which meant he was able to suspend the custodial sentence.

Smith was handed 18 months suspended for two years and ordered to complete 60 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and 150 hours of unpaid work.

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