Axeman jailed for six years

AN axe-wielding robber who terrorised staff and customers in a Spar store is to spend six years behind bars after a witness singled him out in an ID parade.

Andrew Stevenson and an accomplice, who is still on the run, targeted the store on Thelwall New Road, Grappenhall, on May 23 this year.

The 24-year-old entered the shop dressed in a black disguise, brandishing an axe and shouting at a shop assistant to open the till, Warrington Crown Court heard.

His accomplice stood in the doorway with his face covered and held what is thought to have been a 12 inch knife.

The defendant, of St Peter’s Way, Orford, who has 10 previous convictions for 23 offences – including shoplifting, theft of a motor vehicle and using a lead bar during a robbery – held the axe above cashier, Emma Cooper’s head, when she went to find someone to help her open the till.

Debra White, prosecuting said Mark Stoddard, the area manager saw Stevenson on the CCTV from the shop’s office. He went into the shop and said to the robber: “Take what you want.”

Mr Stoddard fell trying to open the office door that appeared to be locked.

While on the floor Stevenson hit him with metal part of the axe bruising his arm.

A third member of staff, the store manager opened the till and gave Stevenson £500 cash.

The defendant demanded the keys to the safe and took Mr Stoddard’s phone and wallet, which contained around £185.

He was arrested on June 17 after an ID parade.

Simon Berkson, defending, said: “In prison he had been attending courses in bricklaying, plastering and he has been doing some rail engineering work.”

Mr Berkson said his client’s guilty plea was an apology to his victims.

Judge Thomas Teague said: “It was an absolutely terrifying incident and those who witnessd it will be terrorised by it for the rest of their lives.”

Warrington Guardian

From 2008.

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