UK pair blame 'automatism' for wrecking local betting shop

UK pair blame 'automatism' for wrecking local betting shop

August 12, 2017 9:00 AM

Two men from Cheltenham, England say they were suffering from “automatism” due to a gambling addiction and that’s why the smashed up a local betting shop.

The Racing Post reports Aaron Cawley, 26, claimed he went into a form of trance before causing £20,000 ($26,000 US) worth of damage to the shop, while his alleged accomplice John Dymock, 30, elected to change his plea from guilty to not guilty due to the same condition.

Automatism, a rarely used criminal defense, is defined as “performance of actions without conscious thought or intention”.

The judge at a preliminary hearing wondered how the affliction could strike both men simultaneously?

The attorney for both said, "Research indicates that with gambling addicts when they lose all their money, they can go into the next stage, which is well documented, which is that they feel the need to smash up the machines."

Both men were free on bail until their next court dates.