Knife raider who robbed garage while wearing an Ali G mask put behind bars

Karl McMurrough
Karl McMurrough

An armed robber who raided a local garage wearing a comedy Ali G mask has been put behind bars.

Karl McMurrough was captured on the shop's cameras storming in to the BP garage at Broadway, Sunderland, and knocking down display fixtures while armed with a kitchen knife and demanding cash.

He made off with £90 in takings during the raid on July 30 and left the lone shop worker terrified.

When the 22-year-old raider was arrested he had pictures stored on his phone of himself wearing the funnyman mask, a cash bag containing the stolen money and a copy of a police appeal about the robbery.

The mask picture contained the text 'when the love runs out, the mask and gloves come out'.

McMurrough, of Palmstead Square, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to robbery.

At Newcastle Crown Court Judge Penny Moreland jailed him for three years and four months.

The judge told him: "In drink and having taken drugs, just before midnight, you went to the BP garage in Sunderland wearing a mask and armed with a knife.

"You behaved aggressively towards the man working behind the counter, terrifying him by brandishing the knife, knocking over items on the counter and demanding money.

"You were identified because you left a finger print inside the door and you were foolish enough to take photos on your phone of you wearing the mask you wore to commit the robbery, the proceeds and police appeal for witnesses."

Footage of the raid was played at the sentence hearing and showed McMurrough wearing the mask of the fictional character over his face when he stormed into the shop.

He knocked items near the counter on to the floor and pointed a blue knife at the shop worker.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: "The defendant's actions were extremely aggressive."

Mr Bunch told the court McMurrough came up with a false alibi when he was arrested and he was granted bail while his phone was examined.

Mr Bunch added: "Cameras covering the address he said he had been at showed he did not attend at the time he said he had done.

"More significantly was interrogation of the phone which had been taken from him. That contained various matters of interest.

"There was text attached to a photo 'when the love runs out, the mask and gloves come out', the photo showed the mask the defendant was seen wearing, together with a matching knife and a baseball bat.

"There was a photo of money in a cash bag, matching what had been taken, and even a copy of the police appeal for witnesses in relation to the incident.

"The photos were stored on his phone."

In a victim statement, the shopworker said he was "really shocked" by what had happened and "very scared".

He said he felt anxious about work in future.

Peter Walsh, defending, said McMurrough's history of "reckless and posturing" behaviour were demonstrated by the phone camera contents.