'I was staring down the barrel of a gun': Leeds mechanic describes terror of being attacked in armed raid at garage
A mechanic has spoken of the terrifying moment he was pistol whipped, tied up and attacked with a machete by two gang members as they robbed him of £140,000 Porsche car parts.
Ian Mitchell was praised by a judge for the courage he showed for fighting back despite having a loaded weapon pointed to his head during the robbery at his business premises in Holbeck, Leeds.
The 60-year-old suffered a serious wound to his body after being struck with the blade of a machete as he fought back against Mark Davis and Kai Kennedy when they targeted his business in Water Lane.
The attackers were part of a gang of six people who plotted to rob Mr Mitchell of high-value parts to an £800,000 red Porsche Carrera GT he had been carrying out repair work on.
Mr Mitchell spoke out after five members of the gang were locked up for a total of more than 50 years over the robbery in September 2015.A sixth member of the gang is still at large and is believed to have fled abroad..
Mr Mitchell said Davis and Kennedy went into his garage on the day of the offence to make an enquiry about a bumper repair.
He said: “I went into my office and when I came back out I was looking down the barrel of a gun.
“At first I thought it was someone having a laugh until one of them said ‘if you don’t want to get hurt and want to go home tonight you will do what I say.'"
The men told Mr Mitchell they had come for the ‘red parts’.
The gun was held to his temple while his wrists were bound together with cable ties.
One of the men then unsheathed a machete in front of him.
Mr Mitchell said: “I remember thinking ‘that is a nasty looking thing.'”
The victim said he tried to fight back when the two robbers briefly separated as they went in search of the parts.
He said: “I managed to break out of the cable ties. I was thinking ‘I will have him (Kennedy), lock the office and call the police.’”
Before he could put his escape plan into place Davis returned holding the gun.
Mr Mitchell said: “I backed into the office and will never forget what happened next.
“I had nothing to defend myself with and he came barging in. I thought ‘this is my only chance’ and grabbed the barrel of the gun.”
Davis hit Mr Mitchell to the side of the head with the gun and bullets fell from the weapon onto the floor.
Kennedy struck the business owner to the body with the weapon.
The pair tied him to a chair with duct tape which they also used to cover his mouth and eyes.
The robbers reversed their hire van into the premises, causing damage to two other Porsches which were undergoing repair.
They loaded the van with the car parts but damaged the roof of the vehicle on a shutter as they made their getaway.
The damage to the roof enabled police to track the van on motorway cameras as they drove across the Pennines along the M62 to Manchester.
Mr Mitchell called police after he managed to untie himself.
Five members of the gang were eventually brought to justice earlier this month after a lengthy West Yorkshire Police investigation which saw officers travel to Bulgaria to arrest ringleader Owen Walcott.The sixth man - Wahseem Fazal - is still at large.
Fazal had been a regular customer at Mr Mitchell’s business premises and is believed to have told the gang members about the valuable car parts being stored at the garage.
Mr Mitchell, from Tyersall, Bradford, received threatening phone calls to his place of work after the robbery warning him not to take part in a police identification procedure.
He gave evidence at Walcott’s trial earlier this year after the other gang members pleaded guilty to the robbery conspiracy.
Mr Mitchell said: “I am still feeling the financial ramifications from this after four years.
“I was unable to work because of the injury, my insurance premiums went up and I had to spend thousands on security.
“But if it happened again I would still probably fight back.
“If it is in your nature, it is in your nature. I don’t think it would make any difference.
“I just hope I never have to go through it again.”
During the sentencing of the gang at Leeds Crown Court earlier this month, Judge Penelope Belcher: “I was impressed by the stamina and pluck he showed in the face of this frightening incident.
“He showed immense courage.”