Machete thug’s racist slash attack

Aaron Currell
Aaron Currell

A THUG jailed for a terrifying machete robbery has had another five years added to his sentence for slashing a fellow inmate in a racist attack.

Aaron Currell was jailed in August for four-and-a-half years after carrying out a masked raid on McColl’s store, in Brierton Lane, Hartlepool, on November 30 last year.

While the 22-year-old was on remand at Holme House prison in Stockton waiting to be sentenced, he armed himself with a blade and waited near a shower block before diving at a group of Kurdish inmates.

He sliced the cheek of Alan Azil-Zada while shouting: “Go back to your own country.”

Mr Azil-Zada has been left scarred for life and “traumatised” after the attack at 6.45pm on January 20.

It took so long for Currell to be dealt with for the slashing as he originally denied the offence and a trial was set to begin at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

But he entered a last-minute guilty plea to wounding with intent and was sentenced on the spot by Judge Peter Armstrong.

He told Currell: “It is an aggravating feature that this happened in prison. The victim is in a difficult position.

“The courts are anxious that people only go to custody when they have to.

“They are deprived of their liberty but should not be given punishment above and beyond that.

“You took matters into your own hands because of your misguided thinking with regards to where race was concerned.

“You are going to have plenty of time to think about that and become more educated.”

The court heard how Currell has a “substantial record”, including battery in 1999 and holding a knife to a girlfriend’s throat in 2009.

Chris Baker, mitigating, said Currell had been on a number of programmes while behind bars and was starting to “clear his head”.

Mr Baker added: “He has written a letter in which he shows remorse.

“There is a glimmer of hope that he can go on to live a law abiding life.

“It is a sentence that has to be lengthy, but hopefully not one that crushes this young man’s hopes and progress.”

Less than three months earlier, Currell was in the same court to admit robbing McColl’s with Stephen Young, who was given five-and-a-half years behind bars for his part.

The Mail told how balaclava-wearing Currell, formerly of Bruntoft Avenue, smashed a machete down on a display stand and demanded cash, cigarettes and a bottle of Bacardi.

Young, 30, of Irvine Road, stood guard at the door with his face hidden by a hood and a scarf as shaken shop staff handed over what they could before both men ran off with their loot.