Blind crook saw error of his ways after Rotherham raid

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A partially-sighted man who robbed a shop at knifepoint was so conscience-stricken he walked into a police station and confessed the same day.

But Darren Lee Chadwick’s contrition was not enough to save him from a 40-month prison sentence when he appeared at Sheffield Crown Court and pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a blade.

The 35-year-old went into the Park Lane grocery store in Thrybergh, Rotherham, last February and asked for a pack of cigarettes - before producing a nine inch knife and demanding money from the till.

Shop assistant Deborah Woodhouse was working alone and handed over about £150.

Less than six hours later he was at Rotherham Main Street police station, said Neil Coxon, prosecuting, telling an officer: “I’m wanted for an armed robbery at Thrybergh.”

He fully admitted the offence, saying he needed the money to pay a drug debt, but said he would never have used the knife, which he threw in the river.

Ms Woodhouse later told police her ‘adrenaline was racing so much she didn’t recall feeling frightened’ until she thought about it later.

Chadwick, of no fixed address, had drifted into drug abuse after being involved in a car accident which left him almost blind and with other disabilities, which caused him to lose his job, his girlfriend and his home, the court heard.

Judge Paul Camp described Ms Woodhouse as ‘a brave woman who has made the least possible fuss about this offence’.