Victim relieved at jail sentence

CASHIER Dawn Potkins spoke of her relief today after a crack cocaine user who robbed her of £50 while brandishing a machete was jailed for five years. After the verdict the mum of four told The Star: "I am pleased to hear of this sentence.

By Amanda Cresswell

CASHIER Dawn Potkins spoke of her relief today after a crack cocaine user who robbed her of £50 while brandishing a machete was jailed for five years.

After the verdict the mum of four told The Star: "I am pleased to hear of this sentence. It was terrifying. If you go around doing that you should expect to get locked away.

"All this for a silly £50. It still affects me but it is getting easier every day to cope. But I am coping. You have to cope."


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Earlier Ipswich Crown Court heard Justin Huggins had a black hat pulled down covering most of his head and a coat covering the bottom of his face when he confronted a terrified Ms Potkins at the Shell garage in Norwich Road in the town.

Last year Huggins told the Star how his life had been ruined after he was attacked outside an Ipswich nightclub.

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He had been left with epilepsy and a stutter after suffering head injuries in an attack outside Liquid nightclub in 2000.

Ms Potkins, 44, was working alone at 11.20pm on December 29 last year when Huggins produced a machete and ordered her to give him money, said Lindsay Cox prosecuting at the town's crown court.

"He produced a knife over the counter and I did what he said," said Ms Potkins after the case.

"I was frightened. You don't expect anything to happen like that to you. There was a counter between me and him. But he got the knife and I couldn't really get away."

Prosecutor Cox told the court frightened Mrs Potkins handed over £50 cash.

Huggins then demanded more money and Ms Potkins gave him the cash drawer which was empty of notes but had some coins which Huggins had picked up.

Ms Potkins activated a panic alarm and Huggins left the premises. He was stopped by police 10 minutes later in Shakespeare Road. The machete had fallen from under his coat and Huggins admitted he was the person the police were looking for.

He claimed he had been told to commit the offence by two men who had threatened to harm his family if he didn't do as he was told.

Huggins was found to have £12 of the stolen money in his possession, which he claimed was his share of the proceeds.

Huggins, 32, of Byron Road, Ipswich, admitted robbery and was jailed for five years.

Sentencing him Judge John Devaux said the machete had been capable of causing injury and great fear.

He accepted Huggins had undergone a personality change since suffering a serious head injury two years ago. However the judge said that Huggins' liking for crack cocaine had contributed to the offence.

Jude Durr for Huggins said his client had a long-standing partner and two small children.

Although he had previous convictions he had no history of committing robbery.

He said that since suffering a serious head injury which had left him with a scar stretching across the top of his head from ear to ear.

Huggins had suffered from epilepsy and had suffered severe personality change.

Mr Durr described the robbery as "clumsy and cack-handed" and said it had been doomed to fail as there was a CCTV camera positioned near the cashier.

Ms Potkins, who wasn't at the court to hear the verdict, said: "As far as I was told after the case that he did it for a dare. Which is a silly thing to do then get five years for."

The Ipswich mother, who worked at the petrol station for past six years bravely returned to work after the case.

"I thought about taking time off. But if I did I knew that I wouldn't want to go back. I was offered counselling and got the leaflets through but didn't take it up."

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