A NOTORIOUS robber claimed he needed a knife he was caught with for cooking.

Robert Gibney had earlier held up Edward McNeil outside a funeral parlour in Paisley stealing his mobile phone.

The 38 year-old is now back behind bars after being found guilty of assault and robbery at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.

The case was the first jury trial to take place there following the coronavirus pandemic.

Gibney – who already had two high court convictions for similar crimes – will be sentenced in September.

Gibney pounced on Mr McNeil at knifepoint in the early hours of August 10 2019.

A police officer who later found the victim described him as “quite upset and crying”.

Gibney – who denied the crime - was later held where he was found with two knives.

He was shown a photo of one during the trial and insisted he had got it from his niece 20 minutes before he was arrested.

Proseutor Liam Ewing QC asked: “Why did you want it?”

Gibney: “I had no other sharp knife in my house. Have you ever tried cutting chicken breasts with a butter knife?”

Quizzed further, he said it could be used for “many things” including slicing peppers and onions.

Gibney added the other blade – a lockback style knife – had come from his sister’s home.

The court was told he had also stolen a woman’s bag from a house in Renfrew that day before using a bank card to steal £30. He admitted to those charges.

After the verdict, Mr Ewing said Gibney had six convictions for robbery, eight for housebreaking and two for assault.

Lord Mulholland told Gibney: “You have a horrific record...a despicable array of crimes.”

He was remanded in custody as sentencing was deferred for reports.

The jurors listened to the evidence not in the usual jury box, but socially distanced from one another in the courtroom’s public seats.

The media and any other interested party watched proceedings via video link from another room.

Addressing jurors at the end, Lord Mulholland said: “This was the first jury trial post-covid in the west of Scotland.

“I want to give special thanks given the world we are in.

“To make yourself available for a civic duty in a covid emergency is very impressive.”