One-legged bank robber who hopped onto getaway bus is jailed for three years

The Nat West bank on George Street pictured after the robbery
The Nat West bank on George Street pictured after the robbery
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A limping “bomber” who took a bus to make his getaway from a bank robbery has been jailed for three years.

Maxwell Taylor, 29, who lost his lower leg in an accident and wears a prosthetic limb, was covered in dye after a “raid pack” exploded as he fled the bank in Edinburgh city centre with a wad of notes.

He managed to board the bus without being stopped, and later took a train to Perth where he stayed the night in a hotel. Next morning, still wearing the same pink-dyed clothes, he handed himself in to the police.

“I knew I’d be caught eventually,” he stated.

Taylor admitted robbing the Nat West Bank, George Street, Edinburgh, of £1,670 on 27 June by pretending he had a bomb which would be detonated unless he was given money.

A judge told Taylor it was “a most serious” offence, but he could take into account his physical condition and the fact he had handed himself in and returned the remainder of the money.

Lord Turnbull said the sentence would have been four and a half years, but could be restricted to three years because of the guilty plea.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Taylor was carrying a rucksack when he went into the bank about 3:30pm and joined a queue.

Bomb threat

When it was his turn, he walked towards teller Sahir Hiqqash and said: “I’m sorry.”

He handed over a note which stated: “I’ve got a bomb in my bag, hand over the money or you go bye bye.”

The advocate-depute, Hugh Irwin, said: “The teller thought he was joking until the accused pushed the rucksack towards him.”

Mr Hiqqash alerted a colleague by using a codeword, and handed a quantity of notes to Taylor.

Hidden among the notes was a “raid pack” which activates on leaving the bank premises and releases pink indelible dye.

Taylor picked up his bag, the money and the device, and left. The police were alerted and officers recovered closed circuit television footage which revealed that Taylor had boarded a bus for Kirkcaldy, Fife. By the time the police reached the bus, Taylor had alighted.

‘Great escape’

Next morning, he went to Perth police station and said he had been responsible for a robbery in Edinburgh.

He added: “I got the train and stayed in the Station Hotel last night. All part of my great escape plan. I knew I’d be caught eventually so I thought I’d hand myself in...I’m wearing the same clothes. Look, they’re covered in the bank dye.”

Taylor had £800 on him, and £140 covered in pink dye was recovered from the Station Hotel in Perth.

He made a detailed confession, and stated: “I wasn’t obviously going to blow anybody up.”

The defence solicitor-advocate, Krista Johnston, said Taylor had received counselling in recent years for sexual abuse he had suffered as a child.

He had also been given psychological support following an accident in September last year.

“His lower leg was blown off by an electrical current and he had difficulty in coming to terms with that,” said Ms Johnston.

She added that Taylor had been living in a hostel for the homeless, and had no money.

“That was the motivation for the robbery. He made a very spontaneous decision to go into the bank and try to get money. He was hopeless, homeless, depressed and drug-dependent. He travelled from Edinburgh to Perth and stayed the night in the hotel, and the money was spent on that and drugs,” said Ms Johnston.