Masked robber pointed gun at man's chest and pulled trigger outside Co-op in Tattenham Corner, court hears

The attack took place outside the Co-op in Tattenham Crescent, Tattenham Corner

The attack took place outside the Co-op in Tattenham Crescent, Tattenham Corner

First published in News
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Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A masked robber pointed a 9mm pistol at the chest of a man who refused to hand over a cash box and pulled the trigger, a court heard today.

The gunman confronted cash delivery worker James Smith outside a Co-op in Tattenham Crescent, Tattenham Corner, at about 10.30am on January 30, 2013.

Mr Smith who has spent 24 years in the army, told Guildford Crown Court that his natural instinct kicked in as the robber aggressively repeated: "Give me the f*****g box."

Mr Smith said: "I wasn’t going to let it go. I don’t know why. I held on. It’s not what you’re meant to do, but I had never been in a situation when I had been attacked with a box."

The gunman apparently pulled the trigger, but nothing happened.

"He looked at it like why hasn’t it gone off. He took one swipe straight underneath my visor, straight up to the mouth area," Mr Smith said.

"He knocked my head back and I could sort of start to feel my mouth fill up with blood. It was repeated. Bang. Strike after strike."

Blood spurted up inside his helmet as he fended off the robber with his free hand. He described falling down and the cash box coming out of his grasp as he was kicked, punched and stamped on.

The robber escaped with the cash box as paramedics, who happened to be nearby, rushed to his aid.

Ambulance care assistant Taylor Barton's statement read in court said: "His face was covered in blood. I could see fragments of teeth on the front of his stab vest."

Mr Smith, from Sunwin Services Group, broke teeth, lost teeth, had four stitches to his top lip and had bone implants because his jaw was "smashed so badly".

Witness Mr Barton saw two masked men in a cream Chevrolet, thought to be the getaway car, and the attack was witnessed through the window of Bliss hairdressers.

In a statement read in court Laura MacDowell, who was selling hairdressing products, said she saw a slim gunman in black hit the security guard between 15 and 20 times.

She said: "He just kept whacking him with the gun. The security guard ended up falling on the ground. The man started kicking him."

Wandsworth Guardian:

The jury has been shown a image of the suspected getaway car

Owner Corinne Reeves said in a statement: "I could hear a cracking sound. The security guard was being hit in the face."

Terrance Clark, 50, and his son Lewis Clark, 27, from Thessaly Road, Battersea, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to rob and having an imitation firearm with criminal intent.

During cross examination, the son’s defence lawyer Ben Hargreaves said if the secure container, known as an iBox, was damaged then dye would impregnate the cash.

Mr Hargreaves said: "We are talking about a highly technical piece of kit."

The prosecution has argued that the father’s car was caught on a police camera in convoy with the getaway car on Janurary 15 while telephone analysis showed the pair visited the area that month.

Prosecutor Ian Hope yesterday said a laptop from the son’s partner’s home revealed that someone had searched online for "successful bank robbery" and "grabbing secure boxes".

Mr Hope said the father bought a new kitchen and the son spent cash at a designer outlet, Bicester Village, in the weeks after the robbery.

The case continues on Tuesday in front of Judge Robert Fraser.





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