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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Masked armed raider jailed for four years by Carlisle court

A thug who armed himself with an iron bar and threatened to kill a shop assistant has been jailed for four years.

Harrington Road Co-op armed raider photo
Dean Weston

During Dean Weston’s bungled attack on the Co-op in Harrington Road, Workington, mum-of-three Sandra McCracken, 42, had to beg him not to hurt her for the sake of her children.

She was so traumatised she “collapsed in a heap” as he ran off empty handed and she believes that her whole personality has changed as a result of what happened.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Weston, 20, of Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery.

It was his 37th conviction in a criminal career studded with offences of violence and carrying offensive weapons.

Judge Barbara Forrester said it seemed he “did not hesitate to arm himself to frighten people or to make them fear for their safety.”

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told the court Weston – who had only been out of prison for four days at the time - prepared for the raid by winding a surgical bandage around his face as a mask, with holes cut for his eyes. Then, brandishing a long iron bar, wrapped in red tape he burst into the shop at about 9pm on July 17 last year.

He approached the counter, behind which Ms McCracken was working, raised the bar above his head and demanded money from the till.

When she refused he smashed the bar down onto two display stands and she thought he was going to jump over the counter and kill her, Mr Rogerson said.

She pleaded with him, saying: “I have children, please don’t do this”.

But he just replied “I don’t care”, took another swipe with the iron bar and told her he was going to kill her.

Ms McCracken managed to crouch behind the counter to press the panic button but she was so terrified she picked up a bottle of spirits to defend herself.

Weston fled empty handed when her colleague June Bell emerged from a back room and told him she had called the police.

Mr Rogerson told the court that the raid had had a “deeply significant impact” on Ms McCracken’s life. She now had difficulty sleeping, was very anxious and, whenever she met young men on the street, believed they were going to attack her.

In mitigation, defence barrister Marion Weir said that two months after the raid Weston had been sent to prison for burglary.

Since then he had proved himself to be “a model prisoner”.

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