Homeless man given extended sentence for robberies - Bishop's Stortford and Clacton

18/08/2017

Homeless Darren Starkey, who who sprayed ammonia into the eyes of a woman cashier in a Bishop's Stortford betting office, has today, Friday, 18 August 2017, been given a nine year extended sentence.

The robbery, in May of this year at the Corals bookmakers in the town, came just two weeks after Starkey had robbed a Jennings bookmakers in Clacton, Essex.

Starkey, aged 51, appeared at St Albans Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to the two robberies and possessing an offensive weapon.

The court was told that in the first robbery he got away with £1000 from the till after producing a knife and threatening the lone woman cashier behind the counter. Then, on 29 May this year, having gone into the Bishop's Stortford betting office, he sprayed a mixture of ammonia and water into the eyes of a female member of staff before making off with between £150 and £200.

Recorder Leslie Cuthbert, hearing the case, told Starkey that there had been an element of planning.

In a letter to the recorder, Starkey said he had never done anything like it in his life and would never do it again.

The court was told the woman, who had ammonia sprayed in her eyes, had been left terrified that she would be blinded.

Starkey was told that the custodial element of the nine year extended sentence would be six years with a three year extension to his licence period on release.

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