Derbyshire shoplifter stabbed store manager with bloody needle

Ashley Williamson has been jailed.
Ashley Williamson has been jailed.

A serial shoplifter stabbed a store manager in the hand with a hypodermic needle during a spree of thefts.

Ashley Williamson would produce the weapon and threaten shop assistants who challenged him during his spate of offending, Derby Crown Court heard

One one occasion, he told a female worker “do you want some of this?” as he waved the blood-filled syringe towards her.

Then, when one manager tried to stop him stealing, he stuck the needle into his finger leaving it bleeding.

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Jailing the 29-year-old for 20 months, Recorder Paul Mann QC said: “You have a bad record for shoplifting but the problem you have created for yourself is that your offending has moved on another level.

“You were willing to go out and steal while taking out a needle and you were willing to threaten shop assistants with it.

“On one occasion you actually stabbed someone in order to steal.

“I have no doubt these offences must have caused very serious alarm and distress because, as we are all aware, needles can carry blood and disease some of which are very serious indeed.”

Eunice Opare-Addo, prosecuting, said the first series of offences happened in April this year.

She said Williamson, of no fixed address, and who has 96 previous offences to his name, was then jailed for earlier shoplifting charges which pre-dated them.

Then, on the very day he was released on August 28, he began another set of shop thefts.

Outlining each one of the offences, Miss Opare-Addo said seven took place in April and four in August and September.

She said they included the targeting of stores such as Sainsbury’s, a Co-op and Farmfoods, all in Long Eaton, and a Select convenience store and a second Co-op, both in Sandiacre.

Miss Opare-Addo said: “On April 14, he went into a Co-op store at 11.55am and was challenged by the manager who saw him concealing items in his coat.

“The defendant then took out a syringe and stabbed him to the finger causing it to bleed."

Williamson pleaded guilty to 11 counts of shoplifting and possessing an offensive weapon in relation to the syringes.

He also admitted assault when he stabbed the store manager with the needle.

David Watts, mitigating, said: “He is caught in a perpetual cycle of heroin addiction, offending, release from prison and back to stealing to fund his addiction.”