Diamond thief jailed for 12 years

A ROBBER who slashed a woman with a knife during a jewellery shop raid has been jailed for 12 years.Jennifer Hurren was working at the Gold and Silver Studios in Bury St Edmunds on January 8 this year when Stephen Tully, 45, came in and asked to look at a £7,900 ring.

By Danielle Nuttall

A ROBBER who slashed a woman with a knife during a jewellery shop raid has been jailed for 12 years.

Jennifer Hurren was working at the Gold and Silver Studios in Bury St Edmunds on January 8 this year when Stephen Tully, 45, came in and asked to look at a £7,900 ring.

But as it was passed to him he suddenly "exploded" and struck her neck with an "upward thrust" movement, before repeatedly punching her husband, Kenneth Hurren, also working in the shop.


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Tully was jailed for 12 years yesterday at Ipswich Crown Court.

Last night, Mr Hurren said: "My wife was stabbed by this man, so 12 years doesn't sound much. But in this day and age you never know whether they will get off or not so we're happy he has gone down for this length of time at least.

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"My wife is fine in body now - she had to have stitches but her wounds have healed up. But it's going to be something she will remember for a long time. I was there too and it will be something which stays with us for a long time.

"But you can't let these morons get to you and we are determined to carry on trading."

Mr Hurren added: "I didn't even know my wife had been injured. The adrenaline just took over and I went. I was a good few yards away from him but I shouted to people in the street and a young lad went after him. Fortunately the man fell over and the lad got hold of him but he was still punching and kicking.

"When I got back to the shop I realised my wife had been stabbed when she was pushed by the man as he grabbed the ring she was showing him. We have asked ourselves what we could have done to prevent this but he seemed so respectable. If we had had a buzzer we would have let him in because he looked okay.

"What happened to us was a very frightening ordeal but we are trying to get over it."

Tully, of Heathdown Close, Peacehaven, East Sussex, admitting robbery, unlawful wounding and assault causing actual bodily harm when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

He was ordered to serve at least half his sentence before being considered for release.

Sentencing Tully, who has 70 previous convictions – 13 of which involve violence - Judge John Holt said it was extremely lucky that Mrs Hurren had not been left seriously injured by the assault.

"The location of that injury on the neck would suggest to me that it was a matter of good fortune that she did not suffer any extremely unfortunate injury," he said.

The court heard that Tully had arrived in Suffolk to visit a friend in the search of money or work because he had got into rent arrears.

He entered the Hatter Street jewellery store on January 8 and asked Mrs Hurren to show him a ring from the display.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said the pair began discussing the ring when Tully suddenly "exploded" and started shouting and swearing.

"The ring came into the defendant's possession and he swung his arms around causing a mirror to break," said Mr Crimp.

"He made an upward thrusting movement with his fist which caught her in the neck."

Mr Crimp told the court that a Swiss army knife was later found in the shop and discovered to be the cause of Mrs Hurren's injuries.

The court heard that Mr Hurren grabbed hold of the defendant and was punched in the face a couple of times. He then chased Tully into the street where at some point the defendant swallowed the ring.

He was finally restrained and wrestled to the ground by 17-year-old James Creed. After his arrest, police recovered the ring from his excrement.

The court heard during police interview, Tully admitted the robbery but said he had never intended to wound Mrs Hurren and "expressed his shame" that he had.

Judge John Holt praised Mr Hurren and Mr Creed for their bravery in confronting Tully and ordered a reward of £500 to be given to each.

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