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Title: Elf defence for 'lingerie thief'

Source: BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6425333.stm

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Elf defence for 'lingerie thief'
A man accused of a stealing underwear from a shop in a knifepoint raid believed he was a female elf at the time, Belfast Crown Court has heard.

Robert Boyd, 45, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, is accused of holding up staff at the Orchid shop in Belfast disguised in a wig, hat and glasses.

He told the court he had been involved in a role-playing game at the time, and his character was an elf named Beho.

He denies robbery but says he may have blurred reality and fantasy.

He also said it "could be right" that Beho had intended to rob the shop - although he told the jury he could not remember what was going through his mind at the time.

Japanese sword

He told defence counsel Anthony Cinnamond that within his small social circle he had been participating in a game known as Shadowrun.

The game was set in the future and the assumed characters were criminals, he said.

He told the court his character was a shaman, or magical elf, who carried a small Japanese sword as a weapon.

Mr Boyd, who said he visits a psychiatrist regularly, conceded that he "seemed to have blurred that line between reality and fantasy".

"I can't believe that I personally did that... and I deeply regret that.

"If I had sought some help I would've avoided that in its entirety."

Prosecutors claim that Mr Boyd knew "perfectly well" what he was doing on the day of the robbery and was "using this memory loss scenario to avoid answering very difficult questions".

The lab technician, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, denies one charge of robbery.

He is accused of stealing two sets of bras, knickers, suspender belts and stockings from the shop on Lisburn Road on 14 December, 2005.

The case continues.

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