JAILED: Man who robbed a newsagents wearing his slippers

Christopher Blair sentenced to three years three months in prison
Christopher Blair sentenced to three years three months in prison

A Chesterfield man has been jailed for over three years after trying to rob a convenience store with a weapon which left three people with injuries.

Christopher Blair, 27, of Spittal Lane, was found guilty of two counts of shop theft, driving with no licence or insurance on two separate occasions, robbery and two counts of battery.

Derby Crown Court heard that on July 5, 2015 Blair went to Dee’s Convenience Store, on Station Road in Brimington and stole multiple packs of cigarettes. He drove away in a car on his provisional licence with no L plates and no insurance and was not accompanied by a qualified driver.

Blair returned the following day and committed the same offences. The thefts totalled £240.

Prosecutor Hal Ewing said: “On January 15, 2016 the defendant burst into Sam’s News store, on Augustine Drive, at 9pm as it was getting ready to close, his first action was to punch a customer, Mr Weston, on the cheek.”

The court heard that Blair demanded money from the till and pulled out a metal ratchet.

Mr Ewing said: “The defendant said give me the till or I will kill you.”

It was heard that shop keeper Sivkaran Sivakumaram held on to the till and damage was caused to the electronic screen. A struggle took place between Mr Weston, Mr Sivakumaram and Blair that ended up outside.

It was here that neighbour Mr Walker, who had heard the disturbance, also tried to help restrain the defendant and all three received minor injuries.

Since the attack, the court heard that Mr Sivakumaram no longer keeps his shop open as late and his family, who live above the shop are looking to move as they no longer feel safe.

Mr Ewing added: “This man who’s livelihood is his shop, physically vomited when the defendant was properly detained.”

In mitigation, Dominic Shelley, said: “He couldn’t remember what had happened. The defendant had a large drugs debt of about £3,500 after being entrenched in crack cocaine and cannabis for many years.

“How does this affect a young man?

“The robbery was done while he was wearing his carpet slippers, he was not even in the right frame of mind to put shoes on.”

The court heard that the defendant said he was deeply sorry on a number of occasions and truly regrets his actions.

Mr Shelley said: “He was acting out of character and there was mounting pressure on him. This was a spur of the moment incident and he never meant to hurt anyone.”

Blair’s previous convictions dating back to 2000 were read out in court, however, Mr Shelley said: “He has made a complete mess of his life but he is starting to get back on track.”

His honour Judge Robert Egbuna sentenced Blair to three years for the robbery and three month sentences for battery, thefts and driving offences which will run concurrently but after his three years.

In closing, the judge said: “In your case this is a bad offence as an element of planning went into this as you went with a weapon intending to cause fear.

“By punching the customer you were generating more fear for the shop keeper to get your target of the money.

“I bear on mind everything that has been said on your behalf that you were addicted to crack cocaine but not everyone on crack goes out and commits robberies - that was a choice was made by you.”