Ipswich: Worker shot in face in shop raid tells of hatred for attackers

IPSWICH: A shop worker left with impaired vision after being shot by masked raiders today said he hates them for what they did.

Lekam Jayatilaka was threatened with a knife, beaten, hit with the butt of a gun and wounded during the armed robbery at P&G Stores in Orford Street, Ipswich.

Mr Jayatilaka said he no longer works night shifts after being left traumatised by the raiders.

The 41-year-old, who is hoping to regain the full sight in his left eye, was also left partially deaf after being shot with a BB gun by one of the robbers.

The married father-of-two said: “I hate them because they beat me, punched me and shot me.

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“I can’t hear very well in my left ear and I can’t see very well from my right eye. It’s very painful.”

Mr Jayatilaka said he was working alone when three men wearing balaclavas came into the shop between 9.30pm and 9.45pm.

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He said: “They rushed in and pointed a pistol at me. Two of them were in front of the counter. One had a knife and one had a gun.

“The other man was by the door. They said ‘give us the money otherwise we will kill you’. I told them there was no money as my boss had cashed up.

“They grabbed me and hit me twice on the back of the head. After that one of them hit me on the back of the head with the gun. I thought I was going to die.”

The men failed to open the till, so they cut the wires and took it with them.

After two of the raiders had left, the third pointed the gun at Mr Jayatilaka.

The shop worker said: “He was saying ‘don’t move, don’t move. If you do, I will shoot you’.”

The robber shot twice. One of the pellets missed. However, the other hit Mr Jayatilaka in the face near his left ear.

After the robbers had left, a customer came into the shop and helped Mr Jayatilaka, who called 999.

He spent two days in hospital after being operated on to remove the pellet.

Two men were charged with the March 13 robbery, but the case against them has now been withdrawn.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “After reviewing all the evidence available against these two defendants, the Crown Prosecution Service has come to the conclusion that the evidence against them is not sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”

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