Leeds getaway driver in Taser threat robbery is jailed

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THE getaway driver in a robbery gang who threatened a Leeds man and his grandfather with a Taser stun gun before stealing a motorbike has been locked up for 14 months.

Joe Ward, aged 19, of Winrose Approach Belle Isle, was part of a gang-of-five who stole the £400 machine from a man who had advertised it on classified website Gumtree.

Leeds Crown Court heard a man telephoned the bike’s owner Paul Westerman asking to view the machine, but five men turned up at his home on Rookwood Avenue in Halton at 6pm on July 7.

Prosecutor, David Ward, said Mr Westerman was standing on his driveway talking about the bike to one man when another produced a Taser and activated it, causing it to crackle.

Mr Ward said the men were escaping with the motorbike when Paul Westerman’s grandfather Stephen came out of the garage and starting chasing the gang as his grandson called police.

The court heard the man with Taser pointed it at Stephen Westerman and told him not to come near or he would be ‘getting it’.

A witness saw three men putting the motorbike in a white van which was driven off from the scene.

Police later traced Joe Ward and the van to an address in Leeds and he was arrested. The motorbike was not recovered.

Ward, who admitted robbery, has no previous convictions.

Mitigating, Narinder Rathour said Ward did admit driving away with the motorbike in the van, adding: “He didn’t attend the premises in his van with a view to steal the bike.

“He was simply helping a friend and was paid £10 for the diesel. This is completely out of character. He is from a good family, his parents are here to support him today.”

Sending Ward to a young offender institution for 14 months, Judge Peter Hunt told him: “You foolishly played your part by being the driver of the van.”

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