Raider held crossbow to cashier's head

A YOUNG man is today facing at least 21 months in prison after he held a faulty crossbow to the head of a bookmaker's cashier which could have gone off at any moment.

A YOUNG man is today facing at least 21 months in prison after he held a faulty crossbow to the head of a bookmaker's cashier which could have gone off at any moment.

Robert Gillett, 20, of Ashcroft Road, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court yesterdayafter pleading guilty to robbery and possessing a crossbow at Ladbrokes in Ellenbrook Road, Chantry, in September.

He was sentenced to three and a half years for his offences but was told he will probably only serve half.

The court heard how Gillett went into the betting shop at about 12.15pm on September 2 and threatened staff with the one-metre long crossbow, saying he did not want to hurt them.

Prosecuting, Robert Sadd, said: “He pointed a loaded crossbow at the female assistants in the shop. He said 'I do not want to hurt you girls. I want £2,000'. They said they did not have that much.”

The court heard how they handed over the day's takings, which amounted to £1,085 and then he ran off down an alleyway, before getting rid of the weapon in a garden.

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When police were later talking to him over another matter, he admitted the crossbow incident. In interview, he also admitted that the weapon was faulty and could have gone off at any moment.

Mr Sadd added: “He held the crossbow to the head of a cashier with the risk that it was faulty.”

In mitigation Roger Thomson said that Gillett had just split up with his girlfriend of two and a half years, and was still recovering from the death of his grandfather.

He said: “These factors appeared to deliver a destructive set of circumstances, which was fuelled by alcohol and drugs.

“He does understand the impact of his behaviour. He has written a letter to the two women in the shop to apologise.”

Judge Neil McKittrick told Gillett: “Anyone confronted with that weapon, in the same way as if they were confronted with a knife or gun, would be terrified. These victims suffered some trauma. You seem to have given no thought to the way your crime affected them.

“One has these problems in life but it is very warped thinking that these can be resolved by carrying out an armed robbery.”

He was given three and a half years for the robbery charge and 12 months for possessing an offensive weapon to run concurrently.

Were you one of the victims? What do you think of the sentence? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk