A teenage father-of-three has been locked up for five years after terrorising a Sheffield community in a spate of armed robberies.
Joshua Kirby, aged 18, was branded a ‘stupid young lad’ by the victim of one of his three raids. He left a female store assistant heavily bruised after targeting Sainsbury’s at Crystal Peaks, and brandished a knife at a Beighton Convenience Store worker twice in two separate robberies. Louise Gallagher, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said Kirby armed himself with a cosh as he grabbed the female store assistant at Sainsbury’s, Eckington Way, at 8pm on October 19.
“He grabbed tightly around her shirt sleeve,” said Ms Gallagher. “He then pulled something out of his waist band. She was so scared she was convinced it was a knife. He held the item as if he was going to hit her with it. She thought she was going to be injured so dropped her bodyweight to the ground.
“At the point where she was released, her colleague pressed the panic alarm and that locked the doors.”
Kirby prised open the doors and as he left he shouted, “You’d better have the money in five minutes or I will come back and stab you.”
The victim later told police: “I was scared and feared for my life. I feel shocked and I feel he is a stupid young lad.”
An hour after the Sainsbury’s raid, Kirby burst into Beighton Convenience Store on High Street and wielded a knife while shouting: “Open the till and give me the money.”
The store assistant said later he was ‘very, very frightened’ as he handed over £475 in cash.
A week later, on October 27, Kirby targeted the same shop assistant at the same store in a masked raid.
He brandished a large knife as another masked man stayed outside to keep watch. They made off with £84 and cigarettes.
The court heard Kirby, of Ringwood Grove, Beighton, has been in trouble with the police since childhood and had convictions for possessing blades by the age of 12.
Andrew Swaby, defending, said: “This defendant is a young father. He had two children at the time of the offences and a third was on the way.
“He left school without any qualifications. Whilst in custody his youngest child passed away and that has been a sobering experience.”
Kirby, who admitted one count of attempted robbery and two counts of robbery, was sentenced to a total of five years in a youth offenders’ institute.
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