Robber jailed after three years on run

A HOODED robber is finally starting a jail sentence today after three years on the run.Former hotel worker Stuart Jopson has finally been sentenced to five and a half years in jail after being arrested for his part in a robbery at the Courtyard By Marriott Hotel at Ransomes Europark.

A HOODED robber is finally starting a jail sentence today after three years on the run.

Former hotel worker Stuart Jopson has finally been sentenced to five and a half years in jail after being arrested for his part in a robbery at the Courtyard By Marriott Hotel at Ransomes Europark.

During the 3am robbery Jopson and his co-defendant Sean Jacobs forced their way through a fire door to the Priory Bar and "rushed" at night porter Neville Moore, tying him up with sticky tape.

The two men in balaclavas then forced Mr Moore to lie face down on the floor and use his keys to grab £3308 from the safe.

Mr Moore suffered with breathing problems as his windpipe was restricted.

The pair demanded that Mr Moore hand over his car keys but made their escape on foot after he persuaded the robbers he did not have a car. Mr Moore struggled to a phone and managed to alert the deputy manager who cut him free and called the police.

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Peter Gair, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said the defendants were found not far from the hotel along with discarded items of clothing and £630 in cash.

Although the robbery took place on May 25 2001, the men were not charged until October 2002 after DNA evidence revealed Mr Moore's blood on Jacobs' clothing. Following the attack Mr Moore stayed off work for three weeks and was unable to return to night shifts for fear of being assaulted again.

Mr Gair added that Mr Moore had also upgraded the security at his home following the incident.

The court also heard that on November 19, while drunk and on bail, Jopson was caught again by police after he was seen walking along an Ipswich road at 2am carrying a £650 canoe. He denied stealing it off a car roof rack in Foxhall Road, but was convicted by a jury in his absence when he failed to attend court for trial.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Jopson, 26, of Felixstowe Road, also failed to answer bail on April 29 2002, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Meanwhile Jacobs who had a criminal record for committing armed robberies was jailed for six years on July 3 2002.

Lindsay Cox, mitigating for Jopson, said his client had spent three years on the run from police, living in Lincolnshire and Cornwall working as a fruit and vegetable picker. He said: "He has spent three years without offending, working and bearing responsibility for tax, so in short he has turned his life around. Now on the face of it, he is a decent young man and unlike his co-defendant there is absolutely nothing in his previous convictions which lean towards violence."

Mr Cox said Jopson "deeply regretted" what he did.

Jopson pleaded guilty to robbery and admitted a bail act offence. Judge Jeremy Richards said: "The robbery was extremely serious, it was well planned and premeditated, you went with your co-defendant armed with the materials you needed to disenable Mr Moore.

"Your actions that night and the effect on that man should and will be on your conscience forever.

"In the three years you have been absent you have avoided crime; you have clearly matured and lived an industrious and profitable life. You knew this was hanging over you, and one day you would have to take responsibility for it."

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