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Bangor man jailed for 'amateurish' knifepoint robbery fails in reduced sentence bid

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Bradley Hamilton pleaded guilty to the robbery (stock photo)

Bradley Hamilton pleaded guilty to the robbery (stock photo)

Bradley Hamilton pleaded guilty to the robbery (stock photo)

A 20-year-old man jailed for robbing a convenience store at knifepoint has failed in a legal attempt to secure a reduced sentence.

Bradley Hamilton's lawyers claimed the five years and four months term imposed for an "amateurish" seizure of £900 in cash and cigarettes in Ardglass, Co Down was manifestly excessive.

But the Court of Appeal dismissed his case despite acknowledging he has paid back some money and written a letter of apology.

Citing Hamilton's record of 87 convictions, Lord Justice McCloskey said: "The offender is, sadly, fast becoming a career criminal."

Hamilton, previously of Innishargie Gardens in Bangor, pleaded guilty to carrying out the robbery at the Eurospar on October 22, 2018.

A panic alarm was activated after a partially hooded raider carrying a knife with a 10-inch blade entered the store located on Downpatrick Road and shouted: "Hand me over your money. I want it now."

Cash was taken along with packets of cigarettes tossed at him by a member of staff.

With the incident captured on CCTV, police enquiries led them to a nearby home of Hamilton's then girlfriend.

Officers recovered a bag containing 32 packets of cigarettes among items concealed in a hot press.

At the time of the robbery Hamilton was the subject of 24 suspended sentences, the court heard.

His previous record included arson, burglary, common assault, criminal damage, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.

Appealing the sentence imposed at Downpatrick Crown Court, defence barrister Richard McConkey stressed his client's young age and difficult personal circumstances.

It emerged that in a letter expressing remorse Hamilton wrote: "I understand that stealing is wrong and what happened at the garage has taught me that the consequences are not worth the unlawful gain."

Mr McConkey contended that the robbery had been "extremely amateurish and poorly planned".

However, Lord Justice McCloskey held that despite any shortcomings it was obviously planned.

"It's impact on those prejudicially affected, who must have been terrified, was unmitigated by this circumstance," he said.

According to the judge, Hamilton had also benefited from a "windfall" of none of the 24 suspended sentences being activated.
Dismissing the appeal, he ruled: "The facts and factors aggravating the gravity of the offender's criminal conduct and his culpability substantially outweigh those matters in his favour which we have identified."

Belfast Telegraph