‘I’ll put a bullet in your head’: What robber told York shop worker – but then she fought back
A terrified shopworker feared she was about to be shot as a robber threatened to “put a silver bullet in your head”.
Notorious criminal Lewis Oakland, 26, was about to steal a packet of meat when he was confronted by the brave Co-op worker who warned him not to leave without paying, York Crown Court heard.
Oakland refused and told the named woman he had a gun in his pocket and would fire a “silver pellet or bullet” at her head, said prosecutor Richard Canning.
Oakland appeared to pull out an object from his pocket as the woman’s partner – also a Co-op employee but who was off duty at the time – went to her aid in the meat aisle of the store on Hull Road, York.
The courageous couple tried to restrain him. In the ensuing scuffle an object fell out of Oakland’s pocket as he grappled with the woman and punched her partner in the mouth, knocking his two front teeth out.
The victim’s glasses were knocked to the floor and smashed as he tried to restrain Oakland against the fridges.
The female victim also ended up on the floor as she and her partner tried to wrestle what they thought was a handgun from Oakland. He then fled the shop with the stolen meat.
He was later identified on CCTV and subsequently arrested. He was charged with robbery and carrying an imitation firearm in the commission of that offence.
He admitted robbery but denied carrying a firearm. The prosecution ultimately accepted his pleas as CCTV evidence appeared to show that Oakland neither had nor brandished an imitation handgun. The weapon charge was duly dropped.
Oakland, of Watson Terrace, York, appeared for sentence via video link today (Monday, 6 February) after being remanded in custody.
Prosecuting barrister Mr Canning said the “thoroughly terrifying” incident occurred at about 11.20am on 11 August last year after Oakland rode to the Co-op on his bike.
The female victim and her partner, who was visiting her at work, were having a cigarette outside and were suspicious at the way Oakland had “left the bike” outside the store.
“They returned inside the store to observe him,” added Mr Canning.
“She saw the defendant taking packets of meat from the fridge and place them in a carrier bag. She walked up to him and said, ‘Are you going to pay for those?’”
“He said, ‘No, I’m not going to put them back. What are you going to do about it?”
When the woman’s partner approached, Oakland threatened to headbutt him and appeared to “show them something in his pocket”.
“He said, ‘Do you know what I’ve got in my pocket? I’ll put a silver bullet in your head,’” added Mr Canning.
“She tried to grab his bag but he pushed her in the chest.”
Oakland was swinging punches at the woman and at one stage all three ended up on the floor as the stolen meat fell out of Oakland’s bag.
“He picked up the meat while (the female victim) was still on the floor, put it in the bag and made good his escape,” said Mr Canning.
The female shopworker, who said in her police statement that Oakland had pointed a gun at her, suffered soreness to her head.
Her partner suffered two broken teeth, a bloody nose and lip, and swelling and bruising to the face.
61 previous offences
Mr Canning said Oakland was on bail at the time of the incident. The robber had the audacity to report to the police station on the same day, as part of his bail conditions, sporting the very same clothes he had been wearing during the robbery.
During questioning following his arrest he declined to answer police questions, “pretended to be asleep and bored” and refused to look at video footage of the robbery.
He had 33 previous convictions for 61 offences including commercial burglary, robbery, shoplifting, serious violence, taking a vehicle without consent, fraud and damaging property.
Defence barrister Glenn Parsons said the robbery victims “may have thought they saw something in (Oakland’s) hand” during the chaotic scenes at the Co-op but video evidence showed there was no such weapon.
He added, however, that Oakland, a father-of-one, had a “serious catalogue of convictions behind him”.
Judge Sean Morris slammed Oakland for his appalling record and described the incident at the Co-op as “a thoroughly terrifying event for the victims”.
He said although CCTV evidence did not bear out the allegation that Oakland had been carrying or brandishing a firearm, the victims “genuinely thought you had a gun”.
Oakland was given a four-year jail sentence, of which he will serve half behind bars before being released on prison licence. The judge recorded a formal not-guilty verdict on the weapon charge.