Robber armed with axe jailed for terrifying Hartlepool shop raid
An armed robber who brandished an axe in front of a terrified convenience shop owner before fleeing in a stolen car has been jailed for five years.
Aaron Currell, 30, wore a mask and waved the weapon at Gabrial Khristian who was working in the Lifestyle store on Rossmere Way, Hartlepool, and shouted ‘open the till’.
After being handed around £100, Currell ran out of the shop and drove away in a white Skoda that he had stolen specially the day before.
Describing the incident on July 29, prosecutor Rachel Masters told Teesside Crown Court: “The defendant shouted ‘open the till and take the money out’.
“Mr Khristian was terrified and as a result opened the till and recovered what he thought was cash to the value of £100.
“He handed the money to the defendant who immediately ran out the store.”
Police searched the area and found the car nearby in Elphin Walk. Officers recognised Currell from local CCTV footage.
After abandoning the car, Currell returned to it a short while later and wiped the steering wheel.
When police went to arrest him he said ‘you’ve found the keys haven’t you?’.
In a victim statement, Mr Khristian said: “This is not the first time this kind of incident has occurred.
“I feel scared to work on shift in a shop I own.”
Currell, of Eddleston Walk, Hartlepool, has previous convictions for robbery and threatening with a blade.
He pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and taking the car without consent.
Matthew Collins, defending, said in mitigation: “He wishes me to express his absolute remorse and his apologies to the victim in this incident.
“He hopes in future they will find it in their heart to forgive him one day and is devastated to have caused the effect he has on this hard working shop owner.”
Sentencing Currell, Recorder Patrick Palmer said: “You have equipped yourself with an axe and you had equipped yourself with a mask, therefore I reach the view that you had planned to commit this robbery.
“That’s a very serious offence indeed.”