Sudbury: Gunshot victims remember supermarket shooting 20 years on

LISTENING to Jaime Howard and Jim Lewin discussing a robbery and shooting, you could be forgiven for thinking they were describing the plot of an action movie.

But the two Suffolk men were, in fact, recalling a scenario that unfolded 20 years ago outside a Sudbury supermarket, where they were both shot during an attempted armed robbery.

In September 1992, Mr Lewin, who now lives in Wickham Market, was working as a guard for Securicor. The real-life drama unfolded as he was collecting cash from the former Gateway store in Sudbury’s East Street.

He recalled: “I pulled up outside the shop and a bloke stepped out in front of me, held out a gun and said, ‘give me the money’.

“I remember hitting him then going to help him as he fell, at which point he shot me. At the time though, I didn’t really realise I had been shot – everything from the moment when I was actually hit was a blank.”

Meanwhile, Great Cornard man Mr Howard, now 42, who was cleaning at the shop, had just returned from his car when he heard gunshots and saw what he thought were two people fighting.

He said: “I then saw someone run past me and thought ‘you are not going to get away with this’ so I gave chase.

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“He fired three shots at me and one went straight through my stomach. I just remember an intense stinging sensation.”

Both men were taken to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, where Mr Lewin was unconscious for five days. He spent three weeks on the same ward as Mr Howard, and that’s where they were first introduced.

In the long term, Mr Howard has experienced problems with his digestive system as a result of his injuries and Mr Lewin admits he was lucky to survive when the bullet lodged in his back muscle after narrowly missing his heart. Psychologically, both men have escaped relatively unscathed.

After their ordeal, the pair kept in touch initially by letter, but they had not seen each other for the past 17 years. To mark the 20th anniversary of the shooting, they decided to reunite at the scene.

Mr Lewin, now 73, who returned to his job with Securicor less than a year after the shooting and was even involved in a second attempted robbery in Clacton some years later, said: “I try not to think about what happened too frequently but it had been on my mind with the anniversary coming up, so it was great to hear from Jaime and to meet up with him again.

“We were able to talk about the incident from our own points of view and we were even able to fill in some of the blanks for each other.”

Mr Lewin also gave Mr Howard a DVD with footage of the TV news coverage at the time of the incident.

Mr Howard added: “They interviewed my dad who passed away last year, so it was rather poignant for me to see it for many reasons.”

The pair also kept copies of the East Anglian Daily Times from September 4, 1992 – the day after the shooting – where it made front page news.