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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Carlisle robber spits at judge after getting seven year prison term

A thug who robbed a Carlisle off-licence, terrifying the woman who was working there on her own, has been jailed for seven years.

Martin William Forster photo
Martin William Forster

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the woman was unable to sleep and had panic attacks after the raid at the Booze Buster outlet in Blackwell Road, Upperby last month.

Martin Forster, 22, was sentenced by Judge Paul Batty QC after the details of the robbery were outlined to the court by prosecutor Gerard Richardson.

As he was led away, Forster yelled an obscenity at the judge and spat at him.

Judge Batty said that he would now consider taking action against him for his behaviour, telling Forster he had an “attitude problem”.

Forster, of Crossways, Harraby, appeared in court having already pleaded guilty to the robbery and another charge of burgling his family’s home.

At the previous hearing he denied carrying an axe during the robbery and the prosecution agreed that this allegation should be allowed to lie on the court file.

Forster went to the Booze Buster shop at around 7.50pm on August 11 while the woman was working alone, Mr Rogerson said.

The prosecutor said: “He [Forster] said ‘You’re getting robbed – open the till’. At that point she saw he was holding in his hands an axe, which he had produced from under his clothes.”

Forster then made his way behind the counter, putting down the axe, said Mr Rogerson. The defendant then took notes from the till and started to remove £1 coins but dropped these on the floor.

Mr Rogerson added: “She [the assistant] believes this was because he was wearing gloves though he had no other disguise on his face. He ordered her to pick up the coins and hurry up.”

Once she had done this and he put the money into his jeans, Forster took six packets of Lambert & Butler cigarettes. The total value of the money and cigarettes was £115.

Forster left the shop, pulling the hood of his top over his head. His crime was captured on CCTV footage, which was played in court.

The court heard the robbery was committed while Forster was on bail, having handed himself in for a burglary on his family’s home in Crossways in July where he was staying with his mother and brother.

His behaviour had caused them to ask him to leave. The court heard that he had taken his DVDs and a games console belonging to his brother and tried to get money for them at a pawnbroker shop.

On August 1, having left the house, he broke in through an open window. Mr Rogerson said he had eaten food and had stolen clothes, worth £200, belonging to his brother.

Forster carried out this burglary the day after he was given a curfew at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court for using threatening and abusive language. He was arrested on August 11. While in custody he spat at police officers during interview.

He has 25 previous convictions, including one for robbing the Co-op in Denton Street, Denton Holme in 2010, when he fought with a female assistant. On that occasion he was jailed for a year.

The court heard he had also appeared in 2011 after threatening a woman with a knife.

Marian Weir, mitigating, said Forster had experienced a difficult upbringing while in the care system.

Judge Batty told Forster his actions had impacted on the shop worker, who had written a victim statement.

“She has lost her confidence; she can’t sleep; she has panic attacks. She wants to leave her job but because of her circumstances she cannot do so,” he said.

“I don’t suppose for one moment you care about that because the only person you care about is yourself. The offence of burglary was an extremely nasty one.”

Judge Batty gave Forster seven years in prison – six for the robbery and one year to run consecutively for the burglary.

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