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The Oldest Profession

Escort and ex-boyfriend GUILTY of locking "lonely" OAP in "stinking" cellar

Published in The Echo
25th April 2017


Merseyside
AN escort and her violent ex-boyfriend were found guilty of robbing a “lonely” pensioner and locking him up in a “stinking” cellar. Susan Garside, 53, and Anthony Miller, 49, face lengthy prison sentences after being convicted of robbery and false imprisonment by a jury of six men and six women at Liverpool Crown Court today.

The elderly victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was forced to stage a remarkable escape from the darkness of Garside’s cellar where he had been left blindfolded, gagged and bound by his hands and feet.

Miller and two other men, who have not been traced, threatened to stab his eyes out, cut off his ears and fingers and reinforced the threats by drawing blood on the man’s neck and ears with a knife.

The court heard the man began a friendship with Garside after staff looking after his wife, who has dementia, encouraged him to have a “life outside the nursing home” and seek female company. He told the jury: “They said don’t let Alzheimer’s kill two people. I had to have a life, believe me the loneliness was terrifying.”

The pair met on sex work website Adultwork.com, where Garside advertised under the name ‘Summer Blackvelvet’. The pensioner, who gave evidence from behind a screen, said Garside later told him she “had feelings” for him and the pair would meet socially and go out for meals.

However after around six months he became aware she had a violent on-off partner, alcoholic Miller, of Hebden Street in Croxteth , who threatened him to “stay away” or “be sorry.”

Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the jury the victim ignored Miller’s threats and arranged to meet Garside at her house in Roxburgh Street, Walton , on November 4 last year.

The pensioner said: “She told me about a new pet that she had, I went to look at it in the front room. It was a budgie I think.... She stepped back into the hallway and three masked men appeared, and frightened me to death obviously. I was wrestled to the ground and there were three masked faces right in front of me.”

The man said the attackers, disguised by black masks, subjected him to a torrent of abuse and threatened him with a knife which he described as “similar to a machete.” He told the jury he recognised the “softly spoken” voice of Miller saying: “I told you not to come back here.”

Mr Riding asked what kind of threats the men were making.

The victim said: “Whether or not I would be able to see again or whether they would use the knife to blind me, those sorts of threats.”

The victim told the jury the attackers forced him onto his knees and took two bank cards, a watch and his car keys from his pockets before demanding he reveal his pin numbers.

He said: “I was carried to the cellar and I was put on a single mattress. It stank, as far as I could tell the mattress was damp. I was left there, the door was closed and it was in darkness. They kept coming back, there were two visits from Tony where again he made these threats about stabbing me, and I would lose my eyes.”

While the man was locked in the cellar his bank cards were used to make two £250 withdrawals from his account, and his car was later found crashed and written off by insurers.

But three hours later he managed to wriggle free of his restraints, and after finding the cellar door locked screamed for help – leading to Garside’s neighbour calling the police. Garside and Miller were arrested leaving the Adelphi Hotel in the city centre two days later.

Miller, who was on police bail for an alleged assault on Garside, initially denied being at the address at the time. However after Garside said he had been drinking with her and two of his friends, he changed his story and claimed he had been attacked by three other masked men, who burst into the house and drugged him.

Garside claimed she did not know the victim was planning to attend her address that day and claimed she was also threatened with the knife during the incident.

The pair will be sentenced on Thursday.