‘Vicious’ robbers jailed for shop raid

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TWO men who carried out a “vicious” robbery on a shop keeper have been jailed.

Gavin Edwards, 21, of Snape Hill Crescent, Dronfield, was sentenced to 44 months in prison after attacking Ashok Sehjal with a hammer during a raid on Wednesday, May 16.

His friend Christopher Barber, 19, of Shireoaks Road, Dronfield, brandished a hunting knife during the attack. He was sentenced to 40 months in a young offenders institute.

Terrified Mr Sehjal, who was struck in the head and wrist, said he thought he was going to die during the robbery at the convenience store on Holmesdale Road, Dronfield.

Sarah Slater prosecuting told Derby Crown Court on Monday, June 25 that Edwards, “shouted to Mr Sehjal to empty the till or he would kill him.”

They also stole his mobile phone.

The pair were later arrested when a friend contacted police after hearing them “talking and bragging” about the crime.

Robert Sandfort, defending, said Edwards had been facing serious financial difficulties and was worried about his newborn son, who was being treated in hospital.

He added: “There was an element of desperation in this act.”

Sarah Brown, for Barber, said he was “misguided and trying to assist a friend.”

But judge John Burgess said the pair planned to “rob a vulnerable shop keeper.”

He added: “The victim was left with a painful and swollen jaw making it difficult for him to clean his teeth and to eat.

“He was extremely frightened by what you did.”

After sentencing Det Ch Insp Sean Dawson said: “This robbery at Holmesdale Stores involved a vicious attack on the store owner Mr Sehjal.

“With no provocation he was struck on the head with a hammer.”

He added: “I’d like to thank the local community who provided valuable information during the investigation.

“As a result two dangerous individuals are now serving a custodial sentence.”