OAP told gun raider to 'clear off'
A PLUCKY pensioner told last night how she ordered a gun-wielding raider to "clear off" after he threatened to shoot her in a post office robberyFearless Ellen Brooks, 74, goaded career criminal Dean Tibble as he robbed Fore Street Post Office in Ipswich – and said she would have grappled with him if she could have reached him.
A PLUCKY pensioner told last night how she ordered a gun-wielding raider to "clear off" after he threatened to shoot her in a post office robbery
Fearless Ellen Brooks, 74, goaded career criminal Dean Tibble as he robbed Fore Street Post Office in Ipswich – and said she would have grappled with him if she could have reached him.
Tibble was jailed for five years yesterday for a six-month crime spree, culminating in the raid.
Recalling the incident, Mrs Brooks said: "He came charging into the shop wearing a French beret on his head and a scarf round his face – he looked ridiculous.
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"Then he pointed the gun at me and said that he wanted money, but I said 'you're not having any, so clear off'.
"He told me he could shoot me, to which I said 'go on then'. I knew he wasn't going to do anything because he was holding the gun at arm's length like he was terrified of it.
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"But then he noticed the young girl (a customer in the shop) and I couldn't get to him because I was behind the counter. I would have grappled with him – my husband taught judo years ago, so I know what I'm doing."
Tibble, who has 101 previous convictions to his name, had been committing crime to fund his drug habit. He was jailed for five years at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday for his reign of terror.
It was a dramatic police operation which saw the 37-year-old finally stopped in his car as he tried to flee from the post office robbery in July.
Prosecuting, Stephen Harvey told the court how the crime spree began with a burglary at a house in Akenham, near Ipswich, on January 8, where Tibble stole jewellery worth £2,100.
He followed that by stealing a £1,000 wacker plate from an Ipswich building site in March and then assaulted a man in the town on June 26, punching him and smashing a cup on his head.
Then, on July 9, he burst into the post office in Fore Street brandishing an air pistol – which he claimed to be a loaded gun – and demanded money from Mrs Brooks.
Mr Harvey said: "Mrs Brooks said 'don't be stupid' but to that the defendant requested £10, £20 and £50 notes – she repeated that she was not going to hand over any money.
"Tibble then noticed the other lady in the shop, a 19-year-old female, and threatened to shoot her if Mrs Brooks didn't give him money – he held the gun to her head.
"The young lady threw her handbag to the floor and he snatched it before leaving the premises.
"The police helicopter and cars were mobilised and Tibble's vehicle was eventually stopped just outside Colchester."
Tibble, of Roseberry Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, theft, assault, attempted robbery, robbery and possession of a firearm at yesterday's hearing.
He also asked for a further offence – the assault of a security guard at Ipswich Magistrates Court on July 11 – to be taken into consideration.
Mitigating, Miles Bennett said: "At the heart of all these offences are drugs. Mr Tibble is a man of whom it can be said that the drugs don't work.
"Mr Tibble at last realises that he needs to address these problems. All one can say is that it's a sign that perhaps a corner has been turned."
Judge John Devaux sentenced Tibble to one year for burglary and six months for theft, with the terms to run concurrently.
He added to that consecutive sentences of 12 months for the assault and four years for robbery, attempted robbery and the firearm offence.
After the case, Mrs Brooks said: "I would have liked to see him get at least ten years. The thing that got me the most was the way he upset the young woman in the shop.
"I was so upset for that girl – the poor little soul. I would have strangled him if I could have just got my hands on him. I'm an old battleaxe, so it didn't worry me one little bit."
Mrs Brooks, who works two days a week in the post office, added: "It's not put me off at all. I've got a bit of a reputation as being tough."
n Appearing in court with Tibble yesterday was Yvette Wooster, 35, of London Road, Ipswich.
She denied a charge of assisting an offender relating to the events of July 9 and was released on conditional bail, to return to the court in the two-week period starting November 10.