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Knifepoint robber, cowardly abuser and ‘coronavirus’ cougher jailed in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:03 08 August 2020

Lockdown robber Matthew Thorndyke was jailed for more than eight years for knifepoint raids  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Lockdown robber Matthew Thorndyke was jailed for more than eight years for knifepoint raids Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

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A man who carried out three knifepoint robberies in four weeks was among those jailed in Suffolk during the last week.

Saskia Francis, 39, of New Cheveley Road, Newmarket, was jailed for assaulting a police officer after coughing at him, claiming she had Covid-19  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYSaskia Francis, 39, of New Cheveley Road, Newmarket, was jailed for assaulting a police officer after coughing at him, claiming she had Covid-19 Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Matthew Thorndyke, 32, who was homeless at the time of the offences, which took place in April and May, claimed he carried out the raids because he had no income during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Thorndyke wore a balaclava and was armed with a knife during the first offence at Fressingfield Stores on April 1.

He made off with £890 cash from the till, £1,990 of tobacco and £309 of alcohol after telling a female assistant: “Give me money from the till or I’ll hurt you.”

On April 21, Thorndyke stole £200 cash during a knifepoint robbery at the Food and Wine store in Diss.

On May 1, he left the Diss Post Office empty-handed after a staff member pressed a panic alarm.

Thorndyke admitted robbery at Fressingfield Stores and attempted robbery at Hoxne post office.

He also asked for the robbery at the Food and Wine store in Diss, and six offences of making off without payment from petrol stations totalling £215, to be considered.

Thorndyke, a groundsman, who had not qualified for financial help during the pandemic, jailed for eight years and four months.

Man jailed for attacking girlfriend

An Ipswich man who repeatedly punched and slapped his girlfriend during a “cowardly” attack was jailed for 18 months.

Luke Ramsey had been drinking and taking drugs when he became paranoid about a conversation Heidi Gorham was having with a friend, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Ramsey, 32, of Samuel Court, Ipswich, admitted assaulting Miss Gorham causing her actual bodily harm on March 3.

In addition to being jailed he was banned from contacting Miss Gorham for five years.

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Woman who coughed at police officer claiming she had Covid-19 is jailed

A Suffolk woman who repeatedly coughed at a police officer after claiming she had coronavirus was jailed for seven months.

Saskia Francis, 39, of New Cheveley Road, Newmarket, admitted assaulting a police officer and assaulting a 19-year-old woman by beating.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that police officers were called at around 6.30am on May 28 to The Avenue, near the junction with High Street, in Newmarket.

A woman had been assaulted by Francis as she walked to work and suffered an injury to her finger.

When police went to arrest Francis, she said she had coronavirus and started coughing in their direction.

Lynne Shirley, for Francis, who appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via a prison video link, said her client had mental health difficulties and had been diagnosed with having an emotionally unstable personality disorder.

She said that, on the day in question, Francis had wrongly believed that the victim of the assault had been romantically linked to her partner.

Miss Shirley said her client was upset when she was arrested by officers on suspicion of attempted robbery – a charge that she denied and was not proceeded with.

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Taxi passenger jailed after trying to steal driver’s money bag

A taxi passenger who lacked the funds to pay his fare was jailed for 24 weeks after he tried to steal the driver’s money bag.

Albert Le Surf, 22, of Byng Crescent, Thorpe-le-Soken, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday to attempted theft.

The court heard that the incident happened in Carnarvon Road, Clacton, around 4.20am on December 15.

Juliet Donovan, prosecuting, said Surf had contacted friends during the journey asking for money.

Le Surf tried to grab the driver’s money bag, and during the tussle that ensued, the driver suffered minor injuries.

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Teenage drug dealer ‘was out of depth’

A 19-year-old county lines drug dealer who was found with heroin and crack cocaine worth £2,500 was given 42 months’ youth detention.

Zoumana Coulibaly was stopped in Colchester and found to have 36 wraps of heroin weighing 4.51g and 132 wraps of crack cocaine weighing 11g on April 13 last year.

He was also in possession of £225 cash, a telephone and a contact list.

Three months later, on July 12, paramedics in Gillingham were called to treat Coulibaly, who had suffered two stab wounds to the back of his right thigh.

In one of his pockets, they found six wraps of crack cocaine and four wraps of heroin, with a mid-market value of £150.

A knife and a phone containing messages indicative of drug dealing were also found on him, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Coulibaly claimed he had been indebted to a man who had supplied him with the drugs seized by police when he was arrested in Colchester, and was stabbed when he declined to sell any more drugs for him.

Coulibaly, of Sunderland Court, London, admitted possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply on April 13, 2019, and possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and possession of a knife in Gillingham, Kent, on July 12 last year.

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