Night in a restaurant ended in gun terror for waiter

PUBLISHED: 15:30 14 October 2010

View of Weston Police Station, Walliscote Road, WsM.; 14-1-09

View of Weston Police Station, Walliscote Road, WsM.; 14-1-09

Copyright Archant Ltd

A TERRIFIED Weston woman who was forced to tape her mouth closed by a gunman she had not long met said she feared for her life.

The 65-year-old Weston woman met 45-year-old Richard Ayers at a Meadow Street pub in Weston and they hit it off as friends.

They then bumped into each other again a few days later on June 1 and in a bid to calm Ayers down after he rowed with bar staff, she asked him to her home for a hot drink.

She said: “Once at mine I thought I saw a drill in his bag so I thought ‘oh good I can ask him to put my shelves right’.

“It wasn’t until he got it out that I could see it was gun and I thought ‘why the hell has he has got that?’.

“I feared for my life. I was asking him about it, but he shouted at me to shut up and told me to put tape over my mouth.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I did. I just thought I better co-operate.

“You just have to go along with it, but I must have shown fear. I didn’t know how to handle it.”

After Ayers loaded the gun with ‘flat pellets’, he suggested they go for something to eat, so she recommended Bottelino’s as she knew the staff and felt safe there.

After the meal she walked ahead to leave the Italian restaurant in the Boulevard while Ayers hung back.

A waiter who thought he was about to be tipped then got the shock of his life after Ayers put the gun to his head.

The brave Bottelino’s employee, who does not wish to be named, said he was taken by surprise after the customer reached into his back pocket and pulled out a gun, which police later discovered was an imitation.

The waiter said: “He put his hand in his back pocket and I thought he was going to give me a tip.

“I was so shocked I just reacted on impulse and overpowered him by knocking his arm away, which he didn’t expect.

“I got him out and locked the door as I just had to protect the customers.”

The waiter then called the police and Ayers, of no fixed abode, was arrested.

He was charged with possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and after pleading guilty he was recently sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to 14 months in prison.

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