Pair get 21 years for terrifying armed raids

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A ROBBER who terrorised punters and staff at a bookmakers by threatening them with a sawn-off shotgun is today starting a jail sentence of 17 years.

One of his victims says the terrifying raid at Ladbrokes in Thorne last March has affected her marriage and her health.

A judge was told Paula White has been left scared of all men and will not let her husband touch her since the crime.

Only one of three masked men who burst into the shop has been brought to book - 41-year-old Darren John Parfitt, of Miller Close, Thorne.

He appeared at Leeds Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two robberies and two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to commit an offence.

Another robbery took place at Owston Ferry Post Office, where pensioner customers were told they would be shot if postmistress Lynne Beck did not hand over money from the safe. The raiders got away with £2,750 in notes.

Parfitt’s getaway driver in Owston Ferry was his older brother, Paul Christopher Parfitt, aged 42, of Cedar Road, Thorne, who was jailed for four years and eight months for the robbery, which he admitted.

Darren Parfitt had been desperate for cash to pay off mortgage arrears and a £5,000 court confiscation order for a previous offence.

Mrs White, who worked for Ladbrokes for 11 years, has been too ill to return to work since the raid.

In a victim statement she said she can no longer go out alone, sleeps with the light on, and re-lives the robbery every day or whenever there is violence on the television.

Judge Robert Bartfield said: “The legacy of this day still lives with Paula White and will probably do so for the rest of her life.

“The psychological impact on her cannot be understated - she feels unable to let her husband touch her because he is male.

“She is scared of men and is worried to this day because she thinks she will be hounded by someone seeking revenge on her family.”

Prosecutor David Gordon described how Mrs White and another female member of staff were in the bookies with two male customers when three masked men burst in armed with guns.

Before taking £2,400 in cash they forced one of the men to lie face down on the floor with a gun pointed at the back of his head.

Darren Parfitt was arrested a few days later after forensic scientists discovered his DNA on a rucksack that had been left behind in the Owston Ferry robbery.

The stolen Vauxhalll Zafira was found in nearby Church Street and a footprint in the mud next to it matched trainers worn by Paul Parfitt.

The brothers had more than 50 previous convictions between them but none for robbery, said Mr Gordon.

James Baird, defending Darren Parfitt, said he had no previous involvement in firearms offences and these were “way out of his league” but he was not the leading light.

Since his arrest he had helped police recover one of the sawn-off 12-gauge shotguns and had been seriously ill in prison with high blood pressure.

For the elder brother, Tim Savage said Paul Parfitt had received only £60 for being the driver and, had he known firearms would be used at the post office, he would not have got involved.

“He said it was half an hour of madness and he’ll regret it for the rest of his life,” Mr Savage said.

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