Shop robber jailed - Borehamwood

10/04/2015

A brave shop assistant grabbed a gun from a drunken robber and chased him from the Borehamwood store.

Mohammed Humar made as if he was going to open the till when Luke Pearson pointed the BB gun at him, but instead he grabbed it and ran after him along the street.

Pearson, aged 25, felt so guilty about what he had done, that he went to the police at 8.30 the next morning and handed himself in. That was even before the robbery had been reported, St Albans Crown Court heard today, Friday, 10 April 2015.

David Chrimes, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Pearson went into the Local Supermarket in Shenley Road, Borehamwood between half past eleven and twenty to midnight. He asked Mr Humar for a bottle of whisky and then a packet of Mayfair cigarettes. Mr Humar put the cigarettes in a bag with the whisky. Pearson then grabbed the bag, reached inside his coat and pulled out a BB gun. "Mr Humar asked the defendant if he wanted money. He made to open the till, but bravely grabbed the gun and pulled it from his grasp. The defendant fled with the bag, pursued by Mr Humar," said Mr Chrimes.

Pearson got away and was befriended by two men. He went to their hotel where they drank the whisky, but when he had sobered up in the morning he went to the police station.  At that stage the robbery had not been reported as Mr Humar had not wanted to trouble the shop's owner who was away at a wedding.

Officers had taken Pearson's details and when they were later told what had happened he was arrested. He made "full and frank admissions" during which he broke down in tears, explaining that he had a drink problem. He said he had gone out after a row with his family over his drinking and decided to rob the shop. He said he was physically sick afterwards.

Pearson, of Stevenage Crescent, Borehamwood, pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit a crime on the night of 17 January this year. He appeared for sentence via a video link from Bedford Prison.

Alex Britton, defending, said: "They were unsophisticated offences. He walked to his local supermarket, was not in disguise and was caught on CCTV. He allowed himself to be disarmed by the shopkeeper. Most significantly, at 8.30 the next morning he handed himself into the police - before they knew what he was talking about. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and has expressed remorse." He said he was a hard-working young man who had always been in a job since leaving school and who also cared for ill members of his family.  Mr Britton went on: "What happened on 17 January was out of character. In custody he has attended alcohol treatment courses and had been put on anti-depressants."

Judge Stephen Warner jailed him for 33 months. He said: "Whatever problems there might have been in your family, that cannot justify what you did, which must have been a frightening experience for that man." The judge said had it not been for the mitigation, the starting point of the sentence would be one of five to five and a half years. He ordered that the gun is forfeited.

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