Sheffield terror raid gunman is jailed

The scene of the robbery at Sandstone Convenience Store in Wincobank.
The scene of the robbery at Sandstone Convenience Store in Wincobank.
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An armed robber who fired a BB gun at a shopkeeper trying to defend his Sheffield store from a raid has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Ajmal Khan, aged 29, was part of a masked three-man gang which burst into Sandford Convenience Store in Sandford Road, Wincobank, and demanded cash.

As brave shopkeeper Balsingham Sujanthani and a friend wrestled with one of the raiders, Khan fired a shot at him, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

The man who tried to intervene was also injured - grazed by gunfire, and cut on the head and hand when one of the raiders smashed a wine bottle over his head.

Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, said the thugs burst into the store as Mr Sujanthani cashed up at 9.50pm on July 29.

“Mr Sujanthani was working in his shop,” he said. “He was counting the cash and he had the till open.

“He heard someone enter the shop and as he looked up he could see a male with his face covered pointing a weapon towards him.

“He described it as a black handgun.

“He ran into the storeroom and shouted to his friend upstairs that there were robbers.

“He saw a second male approach the counter and start to remove the money from the till.”

Miss Hollis said the shopkeeper crept up behind the man, took hold of him and a struggle followed, with Khan pointing the gun at Mr Sujanthani.

“The robber near the till broke a wine bottle over the other man’s head, causing him a cut.

“He struck him a second time with the broken bottle, he put his hands up in defence and he suffered a cut to the back of his left hand.”

She said at that point Khan fired the gun and the friend felt something ‘scratch at his forearm’.

Miss Hollis said the men fled with £200 but Khan caught his clothing on a shelf, leaving behind a piece of cloth.

It was forensically tested and found to have Khan’s DNA on it.

Witnesses told police three men had fled the store.

Miss Hollis said Mr Sujanthani had been left ‘nervous’ and ‘scared’ to work in his shop and has now employed an extra member of staff to work at night.

His friend said he worked in London and had never been involved in such an incident.

Khan was arrested at Sheffield Town Hall where he’d gone to get a birth certificate so he could apply for a passport to leave the country.

Iain Hillis, defending Khan, of Wensley Street, Grimesthorpe, said he had pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing an imitation firearm with intent.

“He wasn’t involved of his own volition. He was persuaded to act as a look-out,” he said.

Jailing him, Judge Simon Lawler QC said: “The victims were very frightened. One can well understand it.

“There were three of you, it was planned, you had disguises on, it was at night, the victims were vulnerable.

“Entry was made at a time when it might be expected there was cash about.”