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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Carlisle robber apologised to shopkeeper after bungling armed raid

A man who went to commit an armed robbery at a Carlisle city centre shop ended up apologising to the shopkeeper when he realised what a botched job he was making of it, the city’s Crown Court heard.

Dean Ross, 34, targeted the Piers Christian gift shop in Treasury Court, off Fisher Street, at lunchtime on July 3 thinking there would be rich pickings there.

He got a woman friend to drive him there, then entered the shop wearing a home-made balaclava and wielding the foot-long handle of a socket spanner.

But once he got inside he quickly realised the raid was going wrong – not least when shopkeeper Barry Foster told him there was no money for him to steal.

Ross, of Botcherby Avenue, Botcherby, threatened to hit Mr Foster with the spanner .

But then, prosecutor Alan Lovett told the court, he “came to his senses somewhat” and apologised for what he was doing.

Mr Foster – who later told police he had not been frightened because Ross’s body language had been so lacking in menace – even tried to shake him by the hand in an attempt to keep him in the shop.

But the raider quietly walked out empty handed and was driven off in the getaway car that had been waiting for him outside.

“It was ineffectually planned and ineptly carried out,” defence advocate Patrick Shimmin told the court.

“When he realised how ineffective it was he apologised to Mr Foster.”

Mr Shimmin said Ross was a qualified electrician, from a supportive and caring family, whose life had gone wrong after he became addicted to drugs.

“He thought he was strong enough to dabble in heroin without becoming addicted to it but he was wrong about that,” he said. “His life has spiralled downwards ever since. It has been a tragic waste of what was a very promising life.”

Ross pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and was jailed for 30 months.

The judge, Recorder Simon Medland QC, told him: “You are a living and breathing example of the terrible effects drug addiction can have on people.”

Ross’s getaway driver, 27-year-old Kelly Marie Langham, who also admitted attempted robbery, was given a 51-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid community.

She was also ordered to undergo six months drugs rehabilitation and put under an electronically monitored curfew to keep her indoors at her flat in Brownrigg Drive, Morton, Carlisle, from 9pm to 7am every night for the next four months.

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