Masked Robber Apologises To Bargoed Snooker Club Barwoman After She Recognises His Voice
A masked robber called off his heist and apologised to the barwoman after she recognised his voice and identified him by name.
Luke Jones, 29, was sentenced on Tuesday, March 10, for the December 2019 incident in which he threatened Emporium Snooker Club bartender Yvette Smith with a gun.
Smith was closing the south Wales club in Bargoed at around 11:15pm on December 27 when the masked robber burst through the door and ‘waved the gun in her face’.
It later transpired the gun was fake, but prosecutor Heath Edwards said Smith believed it was real at the time.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Jones was a customer at the club and had got to know Smith during his visits there. In the past he had offered to help out, but Smith grew suspicious when he started asking her about the cashing-up procedure, which made her feel ‘uncomfortable’.
When threatened with the gun, Smith said:
Why are you doing this, Luke?
Edwards explained the bar worker had recognised the robber, and said he removed his balaclava when she called him by his name.
Miss Smith was particularly fearful of guns as one of her family took his own life with a firearm.
Jones would have known this as she had told him about it.
The court heard Jones then told her it wasn’t a real gun and that he was only ‘joking’. He proceeded to remove his mask and gloves and began to hug and console Smith, and also took apart the weapon to show it was a BB gun.
In a statement to police, Smith said she had been prescribed medication to help her sleep as a result of the incident.
I’m absolutely petrified following this incident. I’m distraught. I do not know if I can work in the bar again.
I honestly thought it was a real gun and I was going to be killed. Even talking about it to the police is upsetting to me. I could not sleep last night as every time I closed my eyes I could see a gun in my face.
Edward Mitchard, defending, said Jones carried out the ‘impulsive’, ‘farcical’ attempted robbery to try and fund his drug habit. He added Jones offered Smith a drink after taking his mask off, and said that only around 12 seconds passed between the time Jones entered the club and when he removed his balaclava.
Following the encounter with Smith, Jones fled the club and hid in the attic of his father’s home just a few hundreds yards away. Police officers soon found him, and after initially refusing he came down 15 minutes later.
Mr Edwards commented:
[Jones] said he was trying to play a joke, but did not realise the affect his actions would have on her.
Judge Michael Fitton QC told Jones:
You were out to get money for drugs. You clearly terrified [Smith] and she still suffers trauma from the impact of the event.
At the time of the attempted robbery, Jones was on bail after police found heroin and a knuckleduster in his possession five months earlier.
He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of cannabis, and was sentenced to a total of eight years in jail. Jones will serve half his sentence before being released on licence.
Jones was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge, and he must abide by a 15-year restraining order not to contact Smith.
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