Terrified customer thought raider was going to shoot him
A TERRIFIED shopper feared he was going to be shot in the head when he walked in on a robbery at a shop in Nuthall.
Daniel Lawrence pointed what was later found to be an imitation gun at the customer during the raid at McColl's convenience store, in Ash Crescent.
Lawrence had also pointed the gun at the face of the shop assistant and was waiting to be handed money from the till.
Nottingham Crown Court heard he had an accomplice who wore a black paisley bandanna and carried a knife.
The accomplice went into the back of the shop, where coincidentally manager lan Fletcher and his assistant had been discussing what they would do in the event of a robbery.
They turned to find the knifeman screaming that he wanted all the money out of the safe.
He then pushed the knife toward the female shop worker's throat.
Mr Fletcher said the safe was on a time lock and suggested the robber could wait.
The man settled for a large bag of loose change, which was so heavy he had to drag it out.
The raider walked out of the office, used Daniel's name, swore and then told him to hurry up.
The manager opened the till and told him to calm down before the men fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
Lawrence, 24, of Beckley Road, Broxtowe, dropped a black balaclava he was wearing – which meant he left vital DNA evidence behind which was used to help convict him.
At Nottingham Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing an imitation firearm.
A second man was also arrested in connection with the incident but released with no further action.
Judge James Sampson sentenced Lawrence to seven-and-half years on each charge to run concurrently.
He told Lawrence: "You went into McColl's store in Nuthall. You were armed with a realistic-looking handgun. Your accomplice had a knife.
"A customer and a shop assistant were present. A gun was pointed at both. A threat to shoot was clear. They were literally petrified."
No one was injured but the customer was left frightened and traumatised.
Staff members have experienced flashbacks, sleepless nights and have been offered counselling.
The judge told Lawrence: "They were just normal people leading law-abiding lives. They are now, all four of them, your victims."
Lawrence has four previous convictions for eight offences, two for burglary.
He had no previous convictions for violent offences.
In mitigation Adrian Langdale told the court that Lawrence had entered guilty pleas, although not at the first opportunity, had held down a good job and had kept out of trouble for four years.
"His mum says he is a good man who has lost his way," said Mr Langdale. "He clearly lost his way on this day."
Detective Sergeant Steve Wragg, from Beeston CID, said: "The robbery was a terrifying ordeal for the shop assistant who was confronted by a man brandishing what looked like a firearm."