TWO shop workers were threatened with a fake handgun before being tied up during a robbery at a Leeds newsagent's.
Luke Hayward, 21, was jailed for more than five years after a court heard how the two women were left traumatised by the ordeal.
Hayward sobbed as he read a letter of apology at his sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court.
He spoke of his shame at what he had done and said he wished to apologise to the victims in person.
After the case, one of the victims told the YEP: "He was only crying because he has been caught. I do not want to see him ever again."
Hayward and another man, who has still not been identified, burst into McColl's newsagents on Broadgate Lane, Horsforth, shortly before closing on April 23 this year.
The robbers were wearing crash helmets and had their faces covered with scarves.
Hayward's accomplice threatened the women with what appeared to be a black handgun.
Both victims were ordered into a back room and told to open a safe.
The robbers took £1,000 in cash from the safe as well as the victims' mobile phones and handbags.
They then then used cable ties to tie the victims' hands.
The women were ordered to lie on the floor and not move until the robbers had left the store.
Hayward and the other men escaped on motorbikes parked nearby.
One of the women managed to use a pair of scissors to untie herself and then called police.
Hayward was traced after his DNA was found on one of the cable ties.
A crash helmet was later found near to his home on Craggside Walk, Kirkstall, which also contained his DNA.
Hayward pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
The court heard one of the women suffered from stress and anxiety in the weeks after the incident.
Philip Goldberg, mitigating, said Hayward was ashamed of what he had done and was full of remorse.
Mr Goldberg said Hayward had agreed to take part in the offence as he owed the other robber money and threats had been made against him and his family.
Hayward was sentenced to five years, three months.
'HE'S ONLY CRYING BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN CAUGHT'
Hayward broke down in tears several times as he was allowed to speak to the court about wanting to meet his two victims to say sorry in person.
The defendant, who appeared in court via a video link from prison, read a letter to judge Geoffrey Marson, QC.
He said: "I would like them to know that I am not the horrible person they might think I am.
"I wasn't thinking straight for a long time.
"I understand that what I did is not acceptable and now I am prepared to face my responsibilities.
"I have heard in some cases you can meet up with victims and say sorry. I would like to meet them in person and say how sorry I am."
Jailing Hayward, judge Marson said: "You demonstrate, I am satisfied, a genuine measure of remorse in those words which you have read out to me.
Describing the robbery, the judge said: "It doesn't need me to tell you what a nasty and frightening robbery this was.
"There was a significant degree of planning involved."
After the case one of the victims rejected Hayward's apology.
She said: "He showed no sympathy for me, so I have no sympathy for him.
"I think he was only was crying because he's now been caught and is going to prison.
"I would have liked to have seen him go down for a lot longer.
"There is no way I would want to meet him again because it would remind me of how awful it was.
"I had to have three weeks off work because of the shock of what happened.
"I still feel nervous when anybody towards me wearing a crash helmet. What happened still lives with me but I have got to keep going because I have bills to pay."