Knifepoint robber in Iron Man mask was prisoner on run

Jailed: James Brown (left) and Damien Ashman
Jailed: James Brown (left) and Damien Ashman
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A PRISONER on the run after failing to return from day release wore an Iron Man mask when he and another homeless man robbed a student at knifepoint in Leeds city centre, a court heard.


A Leeds Crown Court judge jailed Damien Ashman and James Brown for more than 11-years after hearing the “terrifying” robbery has had a devastating impact on their victim.


Ashman and Brown had been drinking heavily before they targeted the university student on Calverley Street, Leeds Crown Court heard.


They dragged him to the ground, pinned him down and Ashman pointed the knife at his chest while Brown assaulted him during the robbery, which was caught on CCTV.


The student handed over his mobile phone before escaping during the incident in the early hours of November 9.


Prosecutor, Jonathan Sharp said Ashman, 35, had been on run from an open prison for three weeks when he committed the robbery.


He had been granted day release from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire on October 19 after serving 13 years of an indeterminate sentence imposed for the public protection for a previous robbery.


The court heard Ashman had met Brown at homeless charity St George’s Crypt on George Street in Leeds city centre and the pair drank heavily.


Ashman admitted robbery, possessing a bladed article and being unlawfully at large from custody.


Ashman, of no fixed abode was jailed for six-years-and-eight-months.


Brown, 25, admitted robbery, and was jailed for four-and-a-half-years.

Antony Farrell for Brown, said: “He is extremely sorry for what he has done.”

Judge Christopher Batty told Ashman: “You were wearing a disguise at the time, an Iron Man mask.”

Jailing both men Judge Batty told them: “It was a truly terrifying experience.”

Judge Batty said: “He is worried about his personal safety and is scared to go out, especially at night.”