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The Oldest Profession

Escort and jealous lover jailed for 27 YEARS for keeping lonely pensioner locked in vile cellar

Published in The Echo
27th April 2017


Merseyside
An escort and her jealous lover face a combined 27 years behind bars for imprisoning a “lonely” OAP in a stinking cellar. Susan Garside, 53, who advertised under the name ‘Summer Blackvelvet’, and her ex Anthony Miller, 49, lured the pensioner to her home where he was brutally robbed by Miller and two unidentified masked men.  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.

The alcoholic pair denied they plotted the attack but were convicted of robbery and false imprisonment by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday.

During the trial the court heard the men had punched the victim, and cut his neck and ears with a knife to reinforce threats that they would blind and mutilate him.

Today Miller, of Hebden Road in Croxteth , was jailed for 15 years on an extended sentence - meaning he must serve at least two thirds of that time in prison rather than the standard half. As he was led to the cells he shouted from the dock: “I never touched him you know, I didn’t mark him one bit.”

Garside’s friends and relatives sobbed in the public gallery as she was locked up for 12 years.

Judge Anil Murray, passing sentence, said he rejected Garside’s claim that she was coerced by Miller and said he found that she played a “leading role” in the incident.

He said: “For the complainant this was an absolutely terrifying ordeal. He was picked up and carried to the cellar and put on a mattress placed there for that purpose...  He remembers you (Miller) saying he would live, but he didn’t know whether that meant he would live with the benefit of sight or be able to walk. This was a very violent offence, and that violence was meted out to this elderly complainant who put up very little resistance.”

Judge Murray said if the man had not been able to wriggle free of his restraints and shout for help, he believed the plan would have been to keep him hostage until his attackers were able to drain his bank accounts.

During the trial, the court heard the man had befriended Garside after staff caring for his wife, who has dementia, advised him to seek female company and “have a life outside the nursing home.”

On November 4 last year he had arranged to meet Garside at her address in Roxburgh Street, Walton , unaware that Miller and two “heavies” were lying in wait. Giving evidence to the jury, the well-spoken pensioner said: “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.”

Henry Riding, prosecuting, asked the victim what kind of threats were being made.

He replied: “Whether or not I would be able to see again or whether they would use the knife to blind me, those sorts of threats; whether I would be able to walk again or still have both my ears, or whether I would have any fingers left.”

The victim said the attackers forced him onto his knees and took two bank cards, a watch and his car keys before demanded he reveal his pin numbers or face having his “ears cut off.”

After he gave up his pin the men tied him up and carried him down the stairs to the cellar. While he was lying in terror, Garside, Miller and their “recruits” took £500 from his bank accounts and took his car, later found crashed and written off by insurers.

Judge Murray also imposed an indefinate restraining order banning the defendants from ever contacting the victim.