Three masked robbers brandishing a knife and firearm terrorised a lone female shopkeeper as they demanded money at a Scarborough convenience store.
The robbers screamed at the young woman to open the tills and one, Patrick Kevin Shannon, pointed a “vicious” 10-inch carving knife at her head as she desperately scrambled for the cash. Another hooded thug pointed the barrel of what appeared to be an imitation shotgun at her, York Crown Court heard.
CCTV footage of the horrific scenes inside the One Stop Shop on North Leas Avenue showed the masked thugs surrounding the shop assistant.
One of the men, who was stood right in front of the woman, pointed the barrel of a gun wrapped in a plastic bag at her, demanding she hand over cash from the two tills, said prosecutor Louise Pryke.
Shannon, 35, who was reeking of alcohol, screamed: “Hurry up! I don’t want to have to use this love, but I will stab you if I need to.”
Ms Pryke said: “He held the carving knife towards her (while) the second male pointed the gun at her.”
The terrified cashier, who was “in bits”, opened the first till and handed the money to Shannon. He then ushered her over to the second till at knifepoint and made her empty it. Shannon took the cash and a bag of coins which he dropped on the floor.
“He shouted at (the victim) to pick them up,” said Ms Pryke. “He stood over her with the knife in his hand, pointing it at her.”
Growing increasingly agitated, Shannon picked the coins up himself and ran out of the shop. The other two men had already fled.
Shopper Bryan Croft, who was in the store with his teenage daughter, witnessed the horror and gave chase. He caught up with Shannon in the street and wrestled him to the ground. He held him there until police arrived.
Shannon was arrested and hauled in for questioning. He told police he had no recollection of the incident because he was so drunk.
He claimed he owed money to drug dealers and was forced into the armed raid to repay those debts. He said he had acted alone - a claim debunked by CCTV footage of the three masked men.
Shannon, of Endcliff Crescent, Newby, admitted robbery and possessing a blade article and appeared for sentence via video link on Friday. It’s understood the other two men were arrested and released pending further enquiries.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said she was in shock and “couldn’t stop crying” following the incident at about 1.30pm on April 10.
She said she had since suffered from flashbacks and had problems sleeping, adding: “Every time I close my eyes I relive the experience.”
The victim had been prescribed tranquilisers and had since been transferred to the One Stop’s Newborough branch because she was too scared to work in the shop where the robbery took place.
She was now fraught with anxiety whenever anyone walked past or behind her in the street. She had suffered “serious psychological harm”, added Ms Pryke.
She said Shannon had 22 previous convictions for 35 offences including burglary, thefts, attacking a police officer and racially-aggravated assault. In 2002.
He has also spent time in jail for another robbery in which he threatened the victim with a knife.
In 2011, he was given an 18-month jail sentence for inflicting grievous bodily harm after breaking a man’s jaw and taking his cash and tobacco during a violent incident in a graveyard.
In September last year, he was convicted of criminal damage and threatening behaviour resulting in an 18-week suspended prison sentence. The armed raid was committed while Shannon was still subject to that order.
Defence barrister Laura Addy said Shannon was “appalled” by his actions in the One Shop and had problems with drugs and alcohol.
Ms Addy said Shannon was “extremely remorseful” and there were “reams” of character references to show there was another side to him.
She said Shannon had carried out voluntary work with substance-abuse support groups such as Horizons, Lifeline and Narcotics Anonymous. They had provided the court with references attesting to Shannon’s effort to help others with drug problems.
Judge Paul Batty QC, who described Shannon’s criminal record as “extremely bad”, said the robbery “must have been terrifying for that young lady”.
He added: “It was a targeted offence against premises (which) you no doubt considered to be an easy target. It’s perfectly plain that you terrorised that lady at will.
“She says this attack has had a shocking effect upon her and (left her) severely traumatised.”
He added: “Those within [the] charitable organisations have been impressed with that other side of your character.”
Jailing Shannon for 10 years, he told the defendant: “You produced that vicious knife and you threatened her with violence.”
Mr Batty said the “extraordinary heroism” of Mr Croft for executing a citizen’s arrest was “deserving of the highest praise” and he would be given a £750 reward on behalf of the city and county.