Drug addict fought off by brave Sunderland shopkeeper in knifepoint raid put behind bars after Sunderland Echo witness appeal
A drug addict who attempted a knifepoint robbery of a convenience store has been jailed for more than six years.
Richard Quarmby targeted Ken Khaira in an early morning raid on his Londis store in Lincoln Avenue, Silksworth.
A judge commended Mr Khaira for bravely fighting off Quarmby, who fled empty-handed.
Quarmby was arrested after an Echo reader saw a witness appeal we published online.
Mr Khaira was not injured, but in a victim impact statement read to Durham Crown Court, he said being threatened with a knife was 'very distressing'.
"He took two swipes at me," said Mr Khaira. "I've run the store since 1984, but I'm worried this might happen again.
"I am also worried that either myself or one of the staff could be seriously injured."
Prosecutor Sean Dryden told a jury Quarmby was arrested after a video of the attempted robbery was published on the Sunderland Echo website.
"It was established Quarmby had spent the previous night in a house in Ryhope," added Mr Dryden.
"A Citroen car from that address was tracked on CCTV making an early morning journey to the shop, where it was parked in a nearby side street.
"The robber, dressed in a black scarf and gloves which we say he took from the house in Ryhope, is seen on the footage hanging around outside the shop for a couple of minutes waiting for other customers to leave.
"Afterwards, the same figure returns to the Citroen car and retraces the outward journey.
"Later that day, the car was found to have a flat tyre which the owner couldn't account for because she had not driven it."
Quarmby, 38, of Porchester Road, Sunderland, denied attempted robbery, taking without the owner's consent, and driving while disqualified, all on September 27.
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He said he couldn't remember exactly where he was that day, but he would remember if he had robbed a shop.
The jury found him guilty of all three offences after a trial lasting two days.
Before sentence was passed, Mr Dryden told the court Quarmby has 69 previous convictions and has served 'several' prison sentences.
Richard Holland, defending, said in mitigation: "There is very little I can say in light of the jury's verdicts.
"Mr Quarmby's life has been blighted by drugs. and continues to be so.
"This is his first conviction for robbery, most of his other offences being driving and offences of dishonesty.
"He moved away from this area for a time, but when he returned, he returned to his old ways."
Judge Jonathon Carroll jailed Quarmby for six years and three months.
The judge told him: "This was not a drug user attempting an opportunistic offence, it was someone who was carefully planning how to get the money for the next fix.
"People who run convenience stores are making a living for themselves and their families, and providing a service to the community.
"They are entitled to feel protected from predatory criminals such as you.
"When you were defeated by the shopkeeper's outstanding bravery you fled like a coward."
The judge gave the prosecution seven days to apply for a restraining order banning Quarmby from visiting the shop after he is released from prison.
After the case, Mr Khaira said: "I'm very relieved with the guilty verdict.
"It was a scary experience and one I do not wish on anyone. I'm very grateful to the local community for their response to the story and hope this sentence will deter others from attempting such vicious crimes."