Ipswich shopkeeper was allegedly attacked by two men inside store

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

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

An Ipswich shopkeeper was kicked and punched and struggled to breathe after being grabbed round the throat during an alleged attack after two men entered his town centre premises, a court has heard.

During the incident one of the intruders allegedly tried to undo a roll of duct tape while shopkeeper Rodney Debenham was on the ground at the same time as his accomplice allegedly dragged Mr Debenham’s partner Sky Jennings upstairs to an office and demanded to know where money was kept, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The incident at Cloud Nine in Upper Orwell Street, which sells smoking paraphernalia, clothing and e-liquids, allegedly happened shortly after Mr Debenham had opened the shop for the day at 9am, said Joanne Eley, prosecuting.

Before the court are Marco Maximo, 28, of Wellington Road, Bournemouth, and Eduardo Fonseca, 36, of Bradley Road, Bournemouth, who deny conspiring to rob Mr Debenham of money and Spice - a synthetic cannabis.

The court heard that on September 26, 2015, Maximo entered the shop and bought some cigarette papers before leaving.

He allegedly returned a short time later and went to the back of the shop where Mr Debenham was sorting stock and grabbed him round the throat with both hands from behind in a choke-hold.

“He was dragged round the floor and his neck was squeezed so tightly he was struggling to breathe,” said Miss Eley.

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Mr Debenham struggled to get Maximo off him and at one stage picked up a broom handle to no avail, said Miss Eley.

During the alleged incident, which was recorded on CCTV, 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 demanded to know where money was kept.

The incident ended when a customer came in and Mr Debenham called out to him to ring the police. 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.

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