Sheffield robber ‘a career criminal’

Martin Gaffoor
Martin Gaffoor
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A gun-wielding robber who tied two Sheffield students together in a terrifying ordeal is a career criminal who once escaped from prison and went on the run for two months.

Martin Gaffoor, aged 36, was jailed for 11 years last week for his part in a horrifying robbery at a student house on South Road, Walkley.

He and fellow masked intruder Lee Whormsley, 37, demanded debit cards and PIN codes from two students before tying them together with electrical cable and shoelaces.

Gaffoor, of Hartley Brook Road, Shiregreen, then pressed his gun to the head of one victim because they had handed over an incorrect PIN code - and accomplice Toni Slinn, 30, could not use the card to retrieve any cash.

Gaffoor, previously of Ironside Road, Gleadless Valley, was jailed for 45 months at Sheffield Crown Court in 2005 after admitting four charges of handling stolen goods.

He asked for a further 13 offences to be taken into account.

The drug addict was branded ‘a career criminal’ in court then, after police discovered a stolen washing machine, golf bag, and vacuum cleaner at his home.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he had 123 previous convictions at the time, 25 for burglaries carried out to fuel his drug habit.

At the time Judge Alan Goldsack QC, now retired, said Gaffoor had to be jailed for the ‘protection of the public’. He told Gaffoor: “Whether one says professional, career or persistent criminal, that’s what for a number of years you have been, against a background of persistent drug abuse.”

Gaffoor was serving a sentence at HMP Moorland, Doncaster, for handling stolen goods and breaching a community order when he escaped in February 2007.

On the run for two months, he was finally caught in a dramatic three-hour siege in which armed police with dogs surrounded a home in Gleadless.

Gaffoor - who had barricaded himself inside a flat - was put back behind bars.

He had been released from prison when he and Whormsley carried out their armed break-in at the student house last November.

Their 20-year-old victims were asleep when Gaffoor and Whormsley broke in through the back door at 8am, their faces covered.

Both students had socks stuffed into their mouths and were sprayed with a fire extinguisher, in a bid to remove forensic evidence.