Hero customer 'hurls basket at head' of knife-wielding robber at Sheffield store, court hears

A knife-wielding would-be robber was foiled when a customer hurled a shopping basket at him and made him flee from the store, a court heard.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 4:00 pm
The scene of the incident.

James O'Connor walked into Select, on Lowedges Road, Lowedges, at 10.50pm, on August 13, as the shopkeeper was cashing up.

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He put down a bag and tapped the counter with a knife, but was "successfully warded-off" when the basket hit his head, prosecutor Stephanie Hollis told Sheffield Crown Court, on Thursday.

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The shopkeeper hit the panic button and O'Connor fled, but a knife was later found at his home address and he was subsequently arrested.

On the way to the police station, he told officers "it had all been a misunderstanding and he only wanted to show the knife, which he had just found," Ms Hollis added.

The court heard O'Connor, 29, of Gervase Drive, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a blade, on October 16.

He has 21 appearances for 51 offences, beginning at the age of 16, which include "numerous instances of low level violence."

Andrew Swabey, mitigating, said: "He came across a bag with a knife. He can't offer any explanation as to why he behaved as he did."

He said O'Connor, who suffers from depression and anxiety, wants help for his drinking.

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick praised the customer for their "courage", and told O'Connor: "You say you found the knife in a bag. I have to say I am sceptical about this."

He was jailed for three years.