A terrifying axe-wielding Sheffield robber struck three times and hit one victim over the head

A terrifying axe-wielding robber who targeted three victims over three days and struck one of them over the head has been put behind bars.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 1:40 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on March 31 how Debesay Teklehaymanot, aged 19, of Ellerton Road, near Fir Vale, Sheffield, was found guilty after a previous trial of three robberies, possessing a bladed article in public and of an assault after three street robberies in Sheffield on lone victims over three consecutive days in August, 2020.

Judge Sarah Wright told Teklehaymanot: “On each occasion you clearly targeted your victim as a young person on their own when the streets were quiet.

"You threatened each of them with an axe and stole from them leaving them terrified and shaken.”

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Pictured is Debesay Teklehaymanot, aged 19, of Ellerton Road, Sheffield, who has been sentenced to a custodial term of ten years of detention after he was found guilty of three robberies, possessing a bladed article in public - namely an axe - and one count of assault.

Teklehaymanot made his first victim kneel, according to Judge Wright, before he took a bank card and threatened the victim with the axe so his victim would reveal his pin number and so the defendant could steal £200 from his account.

Judge Wright added that the second victim was a young student woman who was threatened as the defendant grabbed her clothing and forced her to kneel before stealing her bank card and when Teklehaymanot encountered her again he struck her with the axe while trying to take her phone.

The third victim was also threatened with the axe, according to Judge Wright, before Teklehaymanot took this man’s car keys and followed him trying to find where his car was parked in order to steal it.

Judge Wright said two police officers chased Teklehaymanot and recovered the axe on Milton Street, Sheffield, before the defendant was detained and she commended their actions in preventing the defendant from committing any further offences.

Pictured is Sheffield Crown Court.

She told Teklehaymanot: “Rather chillingly the screen-saver on your phone showed a photograph of the axe alongside bank notes.

"These were well-planned and ruthless offences with no regard for the victims’ welfare whatsoever. You left each of the victims extremely terrified and anxious and traumatised.”

Judge Wright added: “Anyone who has watched the CCTV footage of you committing these offences and in particular viciously striking that defenceless young woman to the head with the axe can be in no doubt that you pose a very serious threat to the public.”

The court heard Teklehaymanot came to the UK as a refugee escaping danger and travelled in terrible conditions before going into foster care and local authority accommodation.

Dermot Hughes, defending, said Teklehaymanot has had a difficult childhood and adolescence and the robberies appear to be his first offending.

Judge Wright recognised the defendant’s young age and that he has mental health issues and has resorted to consuming alcohol and drug-taking.

But she told him: “I take into account your young age but the way in which you cold-bloodedly carried out these robberies shows a maturity beyond your young age.”

Judge Wright sentenced Teklehaymanot to a custodial term of ten years’ detention and he must serve two-thirds of that term before he can be considered for parole and any time later spent released on licence is to be extended by four years.

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