Laughing Gateshead newsagent raider Liam Smith is jailed for three years

Liam Smith openly laughed as the court heard how his victim had been left traumatised after his attempted robbery of a Gateshead newsagent

Liam Smith who has been jailed for three years

Liam Smith who has been jailed for three years

A raider who laughed on hearing how he left his victim traumatised has been jailed.

Liam Smith smirked and openly laughed when a court was told how his attempted robbery at a Gateshead newsagent’s had left the lone female worker having nightmares and living in fear.

Shirtless Smith, 21, burst into Martin’s newsagent in Oakfield Road, Whickham, knocking over a lottery stand before walking behind the counter and pushing his hand into the face of terrified worker Lisa Thirkell.

The raider then screamed at Ms Thirkell “give me the money; get the cash out; get the till open”.

The attempted robbery was only stopped when a customer came in the shop, realised what was happening and shouted “get off her” before wrestling Smith to the ground.

Smith, of Hyde Park Street, Gateshead, pleased guilty to attempted robbery last month.

Mark Guiliani, prosecuting, read out a victim statement from Ms Thirkell. In it she said: “He grabbed me, I feared he was going to seriously assault me.

“To the defendant I say ‘why me, why me, why anyone?’ What gave him the right to treat me as his enemy?

“The job has been difficult and I still shudder every time the door chimes. I hate thinking everyone is like him.

“The incident has not only affected my work but it has been detrimental to me. I have trouble sleeping, nightmares and I’ve been to my GP.”

When Mr Guiliani finished reading the statement, Judge James Goss QC immediately raised concerns about Smith’s laughing.

He said: “At various points when the statement was being read out, the defendant either smiled or laughed at the effect of this offence on his victim.”

The laughing caused the judge to reject any claims Smith was sorry for his actions, jailing him for three years.

The judge added: “You do not smile repeatedly and laugh at times when the effect of the victim was being described to this court if you were genuinely remorseful.”

Defending Michael Hodson said his client’s laughter was down to adolescent bravado and the offence had been unplanned and the result of heavy drinking.

Following the case, Ms Thirkell said: “I’m just glad it’s all over now.”

Newcastle Chronicle

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