Armed robber jailed for life after post office raids in Rotherham killed police officer

An armed robber jailed for life after two post office raids in Rotherham has served time behind bars before for killing a police officer.
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Thomas Whaley was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years before he can be considered for parole after targeting Catcliffe Post Office twice last October.

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The 36-year-old, of Dovercourt Road, Kimberworth, pleaded guilty to assault, theft and robbery following the raids, during which staff were attacked.

Thomas WhaleyThomas Whaley
Thomas Whaley

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Whaley demanded money from the till after threatening staff with a broken glass bottle during the first raid before escaping with cash and cigarettes.

The following day, Whaley returned to the post office with a knife and threatened staff again but was overpowered and restrained until police officers arrived.

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Post office owner Terry Fieldhouse was struck over his head with a bottle after confronting the robber.

APPEAL: Police still on the search for wanted manDetective Inspector Andy Knowles described Whaley as a ‘dangerous man’ after he was jailed and said he had ‘previous history of committing violent acts’.

It has now emerged that Whaley was jailed for eight years in 2001 for killing police officer Alison Armitage in Oldham.

The then 24-year-old, who had a lengthy criminal record for car crime, was trying to escape in a stolen car when he ran over PC Armitage, dragging her under the vehicle.

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He claimed not to have seen the police officer, despite driving backwards and forwards over her body in his bid to evade arrest.

He served five years behind bars for the offence before being released back into the community in 2006.

PC Armitage was 29 when she was killed and was described as ‘brave, conscientious and outstanding’.

Disqualified driver Whaley had been charged with murder but denied the offence and admitted manslaughter.

He killed PC Armitage while she was working undercover in the car park of a derelict pub as part of an investigation into the theft of a car.