Ipswich robbers jailed for 'violent spree' in town shops

Kwasi Jacobs and Barrington Aitkens were jailed at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday.

Kwasi Jacobs and Barrington Aitkens were jailed at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday. - Credit: Suffolk police

 A violent robber who carried out three raids at shops in the town in less than a week, including one during which he repeatedly punched a shopkeeper in the face and broke his jaw and his eye socket has been jailed for 12 years and six months. 

Sentencing 44-year-old Kwasi Jacobs, Judge Emma Peters said that in addition to the violent assault on the shopkeeper at the Corner Store in Clapgate Lane he had jumped over the counter during raids at two other shops in the town and caused the petrified female assistants to fear he was going to kill then.

Kwasi Jacobs was jailed for more than 12 years

Kwasi Jacobs was jailed for more than 12 years for carrying out three raids at shops in the town in less than a week. - Credit: Suffolk police

Both the women had been so badly affected by what happened that they had decided to look for new jobs.

Jacobs, of Grimwade Street Ipswich, admitted robberies at  Betfred in Carr Street on Thursday, July 15,  the Three Star Food and Wine shop, in Felixstowe Road on Monday, July 19 and The Corner Store, in Clapgate Lane on Wednesday, July 21 last year.

In addition to being jailed for 12 years and six months he was given an extended licence period of five years.

He will have to serve eight years and four months of his sentence before he can be considered for release by the parole board.

Judge Peters said she was “absolutely clear” that Jacobs posed a danger to the public by the commission of further serious offences in the future.

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Also before the court was 42-year-old  Barrington Aikens of Fore Street, Ipswich, who admitted acting as a look out during the raid at the Corner Shop in Clapgate Lane.

Barrington Aitkens was jailed for  jailed for four years and nine months

Barrington Aitkens was jailed for jailed for four years and nine months. - Credit: Suffolk police

He was jailed for four years and nine months.

Daniel Taylor, prosecuting, said that on July 15 Jacobs entered the Betfred shop in Carr Street and after placing some bets he had jumped over the counter and grabbed the female assistant and pushed her to the floor by her arms.

“She screamed and thought she was going to die,” said Mr Taylor.

Jacobs told her: “Stop screaming or I'll hurt you” and forced her to open the safe which contained £1,300 cash.

He then pushed her into a staff toilet and told her to keep the door shut and not to push any alarms.

Jacobs left the shop with a total of £1,450.

The second robbery took place on July 19 at 8.15pm at the Three Star Food and Wine shop in Felixstowe Road.

Jacobs had asked the female shop assistant if she was alone before jumping over the counter and grabbing her by the neck.

He forced her to open the till and removed the contents before taking her to a rear storeroom where he let her go.

The court heard that she thought she was going to die and had been unable to go back to the same job since the robbery.

Two days later Jacobs entered The Corner store in Clapgate Lane while Aikens stayed outside as look out.

Jacobs had repeatedly punched the shopkeeper in the face and dragged him across the floor before taking £351 cash from the till as well as cigarettes and alcohol.

Mr Taylor said that during the attack on the shopkeeper Aikens had opened the door and had then shut it again.

When Jacobs came out of the shop he gave Aikens two bottles of alcohol.

The shopkeeper suffered a fractured jaw and eye socket as a result of the attack and underwent surgery.

Joe Bird for Jacobs said his client hadn’t been armed during the robberies and had committed them to pay a drug debt.

He said he had committed the offences out of desperation and was sorry for the harm he’d caused.

Oliver Haswell for Aikens said his client had turned a blind eye to the attack on the shopkeeper by Jacobs and hadn’t anticipated the level of violence used during the robbery.

The court heard that Aikens had started drinking heavily after the murder of his nephew. 

Following the sentencing hearing PC Tristram Singh of South CID, said: “Kwasi Jacobs went on a violent spree targeting vulnerable lone workers to steal money, along with alcohol and cigarettes. He not only caused trauma and serious injury to the victims but substantial losses to local businesses. 

“The victims I have spoken to were terrified during the attacks and I applaud their bravery in reliving the encounters to secure the conviction.

“Whilst Barrington Aitkens may have appeared on the face of it to act as a look out, if it was not for his presence during the robbery in Clapgate Lane, the particularly violent assault against the shop worker there could potentially have been stopped by customers trying to enter the shop. 

“I hope the sentences handed down today act as a warning to violent offenders such as Jacobs and also to accomplices such as Aitkens, that we will not tolerate cowardly acts of this nature – be assured we will do everything we can to find you and bring you to justice.”