A robber who grabbed a terrified shop customer by the throat and held a gun to her head was yesterday jailed for seven years.
Belfast Crown Court heard that within five minutes of robbing Clifton Street petrol station, in north Belfast, on November 21 last year, 22-year-old John Crumley, and his still unknown accomplice, then went into the Spar shop on the Antrim Road and held what transpired to be an imitation gun to the head of a man who had his eight-year-old child clinging to his legs.
However, the pair left with nothintg andCrumley handed himself into police two days later, confessing to both incidents.
Jailing Crumley, from Lagmore Grove in Dunmurry, for seven years Judge Corinne Philpott QC told him that “ a substantial mitigating factor is his plea of guilty”.
“It was unlikely even if he had been apprehended that he would have been convicted. The defendant is entitled to be given a margin of credit,” he said.
Crumley will serve four years in prison and then be subjected to three years on probation.
“This is a serious offence. He pointed a replica gun at four people and terrified a young boy. The only thing can be said is at least he did not point the gun at the child,” he said. During an earlier hearing, the court was told Crumley and the other man went into the filling station where Crumley grabbed a customer and pointed the gun at her head. They left with nearly £80 and an unknown quantity of cigarettes.