Robber held knife to shop assistant's throat in town store

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A man who held a knife at a Suffolk shop assistant’s throat and dragged her round the store by her hair during an attempted robbery has been jailed for six years and three months.

The woman was working at McColl’s newsagents in Church Street, Eye, at around 7.40pm with a male colleague when 39-year-old Craig Johnson entered the store and held a knife at her throat, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He had then dragged her round the store by her hair and demanded she opened the till, said David Baird, prosecuting.

ipswich crown court

Craig Johnson was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

During the incident he slammed her into the counter before trying unsuccessfully to open the till.

Johnson had then threatened the male assistant and told him to open the till before leaving the premises empty-handed.

An hour later Johnson had entered the Londis store in Sizewell Road, Leiston, brandishing a knife and ordered a male employee to open the till.

He did as he was told and gave Johnson £100 cash and Johnson had then taken a further £250 from a rear storeroom, said Mr Baird.

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During the robbery Johnson had asked where the safe was but the employee said he didn’t know where the key was before taking the opportunity to run out of the store.

Johnson admitted robbery at the Londis store in Leiston and attempted robbery at McColl’s in Eye on March 29, 2020.

The court heard that since the offences Johnson had been recalled to HMP Wayland prison until 2026.

In addition to jailing Johnson for six years and three months, Recorder Jeremy Benson imposed a three years and nine month extended licence period.

Jude Durr, for Johnson, said there had been a significant delay in his client being sentenced and none of the time he had spent in custody since his recall to prison would count towards his sentence for the robbery and attempted robbery.

He said Johnson had started using cannabis and cocaine at a young age and had lapsed into class A drug use in March 2020 after losing his job at a meat packing factory. His life had then gone into a downward spiral and he had committed the offences.

Mr Durr said Johnson was remorseful and recognised how frightened the shop staff must have been during the raids.