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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Two years for elf lingerie thief
Orchid shop
Mr Boyd robbed the shop at knifepoint
A man who claimed he thought he was a female elf when he stole underwear from a Belfast shop at knifepoint, has been jailed for two years.

Robert Boyd, 45, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, held up staff at the Orchid shop on the Lisburn Road disguised in a wig, hat and glasses.

He told the court he had been in a role-playing game at the time and may have blurred reality and fantasy.

Boyd stole bras, knickers, suspender belts and stockings worth 250.

Before sentence was passed a lawyer for Boyd revealed that since the incident he had lost his job at Queen's University Belfast and both he and his wife had been subjected to ridicule.

The lawyer said he had been suffering from depression when the robbery happened in December 2005.

'Serious offence'

However, Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC told the 45-year-old that while he may have "convoluted your character with that of Buho the elf" at the end of the day "I have to get back to the basics - it's a very serious offence with very serious consequences".

The judge added: "The courts will not tolerate (armed robbery) and will clamp down upon it - you must take responsibility for your own actions."

He also said the female member of staff, who was on her own in the shop at the time of the robbery, had been terrified.

"She said: 'He was standing there with a knife like a kitchen knife, standing there holding the knife towards me horizontally'," the judge said.

"She was not actually physically harmed by virtue of what occurred. But I have read the statement from the injured party and it's clear she has suffered mentally."

Boyd was ordered to serve a further two years on probation after his prison sentence.

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