Ipswich shopkeeper’s girlfriend tells court of alleged attack

Cloud Nine in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Cloud Nine in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The girlfriend of an Ipswich shopkeeper has described being grabbed round the neck by an intruder who demanded to know where the shop’s money was kept.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court during the trial of two men accused of conspiring to rob Rodney Debenham at Cloud Nine in Upper Orwell Street, Sky Jennings said she had started hyperventilating and having a panic attack during the alleged incident.

Miss Jennings said that while one of the intruders was scuffling with Mr Debenham a second man had started dragging her up the stairs to an office.

She claimed the man held her round the throat causing her to have flashbacks to violent incidents that had happened in her past.

She allegedly told him she couldn’t breathe and he had briefly let her go.

Miss Jennings claimed the man asked her where money was kept and she had thought it strange as she wasn’t aware of there ever being much money on the premises.

She said at no time had the man asked her anything about synthetic cannabis known as Spice.

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Before the court are Marco Maximo, 28 and Eduardo Fonseca, 36, both of Bournemouth, who have denied conspiracy to rob Mr Debenham of money and Spice in September 2015.

It has been alleged Maximo entered the shop shortly after 9am and bought cigarette papers before leaving.

He allegedly returned a short time later and went to the back of the shop and grabbed Mr Debenham round the throat with both hands so tightly that he struggled to breathe.

During the alleged incident, which was recorded on CCTV, Mr Debenham heard Miss Jennings scream as Fonseca, who had come into the shop shortly after Maximo, allegedly dragged her up the stairs to an office where he allegedly demanded to know where money was kept.

The alleged incident ended when a customer came in and Mr Debenham called out to him to ring the police. Maximo and Fonseca left empty-handed. The defendants later told police they had come to Ipswich to scare Mr Debenham after the daughter of one of Maximo’s friends had become unwell after taking Spice.

The court has heard that Maximo has pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Debenham causing him actual bodily harm.

The trial continues.