Hartlepool student ran in fear during alleged 'knifepoint' robbery in Tesco car park

A student told a court how he ran in terror from his car after allegedly being robbed at knifepoint in the early hours of the morning.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 4:12 pm

Louis Wood, 19, was punched in the face and robbed of £5 and an £800 designer jacket by Jacob Mercer after giving him and his girlfriend a lift home.

Mr Wood claims Mercer, also 19, showed him a flip knife during the journey from Hartlepool town centre to Throston and threatened to slash him with it during the robbery at around 2.15am on May 6 last year.

Mercer admits robbery but is standing trial at Teesside Crown Court over possession of the knife which he denies.

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Louis Wood, 19, was punched in the face and robbed of £5 and an £800 designer jacket by Jacob Mercer after giving him a lift home.
Louis Wood, 19, was punched in the face and robbed of £5 and an £800 designer jacket by Jacob Mercer after giving him a lift home.

Mr Wood said he agreed to give Mercer a lift after initially mistaking him for a friend.

Mercer claims he offered to pay Mr Wood £5 which Mr Wood denied.

Mr Wood said during the journey Mercer showed him a knife with a purple and black handle but was not unduly worried as he learned that Mercer knew his older brother.

He drove Mercer and his girlfriend to Hartside Gardens and Mercer told him to wait around the corner in the Tesco car park while he got some money.

Mr Wood said he offered him £1.80 for the journey which he accepted but was then attacked.

“He put the £1.80 in my hand and he punched me a couple of times in the face and in the neck.”

He said Mercer reached for the car keys and then pulled out the knife.

“He was just waving it, screaming he was going to slash me,” he said.

Mr Wood said he escaped through the passenger door and ran away before calling the police.

“He was shouting that he was going to kill me,” he said. “I was terrified.”

Stephen Constantine, defending Mercer, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, suggested Mr Wood made up the knife to justify him leaving his car which he initially feared Mercer had stolen.

Mr Wood said: “Absolutely not. I wouldn’t have ran away from my car if he didn’t have a knife.”

Giving evidence, Mercer said he assaulted Mr Wood when he refused to turn out his pockets to try to find a lost cigarette packet containing Mercer’s bank card and house keys.

He said he tried to take the car keys out of the ignition because he thought Mr Wood was going to drive away.

Mercer denied producing a knife at any point or making threats to Mr Wood.

The trial continues.