Masked robber apologised to victim before demanding money in Clacton

Chelmsford Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court - Credit: Lucy taylor

A masked man who apologised as he robbed a dog walker at knife-point to buy money for drugs has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Sam Carter, 27, of Kestrel Way, Clacton

Sam Carter, 27, of Kestrel Way, Clacton - Credit: Archant

Sam Carter, 27, approached the woman in West Road, Clacton, at 10.40pm on January 19.

Carter, of Kestrel Way in the town, pulled a grey knitted hat with cut out eye holes over his face as he neared the victim and pulled out an eight-inch butcher’s knife.

Sasha Bailey, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday that Carter said to the woman: “Sorry I’m going to rob you I need money.”

The woman asked him why and he explained he needed to buy drugs to pay off a group of men, before pulling off his mask and allowing the victim to walk away unharmed and without handing over any cash.

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Police rushed to the scene after being alerted by the victim, and Carter said he was going to hand in the knife to the police station as she had suggested.

In interview he told officers he had shown her the knife to ask what he should do with it and asked for 20p to buy an energy drink, but accepted he would have thought he was being robbed if in that position.

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Carter admitted charges of attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article at an earlier hearing.

Peter Barlex, mitigating, said Carter was an “extremely unlikely robber” and although he had a criminal record of 11 convictions consisting of 21 offences they were mostly for dishonesty offences.

The court heard Carter had been released from prison on Christmas Eve after being jailed in July for fraud.

Mr Barlex said: “He bitterly regrets getting into this situation and that he put the victim in this unfortunate position.

“He has a very unfortunate background.”

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC, sentencing, said: “I find a letter he sent to me moving and regrettable, he has had a very difficult time.

“But he wore a sinister garment, pulled out a butcher’s knife and the victim was terrified by this. Although no direct violence was used she bears the psychological marks of this day and is frightened to go out and about on her own in her home town.

“People who use knives in the process of robbery for the purpose of terrifying their victims to extract money from them must expect to go to prison, and you are no exception.”

He sentenced Carter to 30 months in prison on each charge, to run concurrently.

No order was made for costs or compensation, though a compulsory victim surcharge applies.

Judge Goldstaub also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the kitchen knife.

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