Armed raider threatened to shoot Middlesbrough shop assistant

Kenneth Graham demanded cash from the terrified Middlesbrough assistant warning her: “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot you”

Kenneth Graham

A robber who held up a late night store telling the terrified, lone assistant “I’ve got a gun” was jailed for three years.

Kenneth Graham, 21, arrived at the Premier shop in Middlesbrough on his bike at 9.30pm as assistant Ann Wilson was outside taking a cigarette break.

As she went behind the counter to serve him he demanded she hand over the money saying: “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot you”.

He was standing in front of her with his right hand inside his jacket rummaging around for something.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told Teesside Crown Court that Miss Wilson started to panic and she hit the wrong button on the till, but eventually she took out a handful of £5 and £10 notes.

Graham, who was wearing gloves, said ‘Don’t you dare touch your phone’ and he left returning immediately to repeat ‘Don’t use your phone.”

Miss Masters added: “She was crying uncontrollably thinking that he had a gun.

“She saw a man at the cash machine and he called the police. Graham was identified as a possible suspect and he was positively identified soon after.

“She said later that she recognised him as the robber of the store having known him in the area where she lived.

“The incident left her extremely upset and scared, worrying if the person knew her and came back.

“She said ‘I feel sick about the whole incident’. When she was going to be a witness she asked for special measures.

“She said ‘I’m suffering panic attacks. I have been receiving regular support from the Victim Support network. I am struggling to do my work but it’s something I have to do because I need the money to pay my bills.”

Graham had 16 convictions for 29 offences including drugs,assault theft and burglary.

Jim Withyman, defending, said that Graham came from a respectable family but he had been threatened over a drug debt after he turned to drugs while mourning the deaths of two close friends.

He said that Graham, whose parents were in court supporting him, wished to apologise through him to Miss Wilson for the terror and upset he caused to her.

Judge Michael Taylor told Grham: “She is finding it very difficult to come to terms with what happened.

“People like her perform a valuable serviced to the public, and the message has got to out that those who commit these sort of offences will always received substantial prison sentences.

“You said that you had a gun and she was not to know whether you had one.”

Graham, of Ottawa Road,Middlesbrough, was jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to the November 3 robbery of the store on Longlands Road, Middlesbrough.

Gazette Live

He was jailed last year for his role in the EDL rioting at the Birmingham demo in 2013. More info here.

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