Screaming masked robber threatened to kill Leeds shopkeeper before snatching £5,000

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A knife-carrying raider threatened to stab a shopkeeper as he screamed at him to empty the tills and safe at a Leeds estate shop.

Terrifying footage played for Leeds Crown Court showed career criminal Paul Templeton, wearing a mask and the hood up on his jacket, kicking his way into the secure staff area of Best One on Stanks Parade in Whinmoor.

He held the six-inch kitchen knife up towards the shopkeeper and screaming that he would kill him. He fled with around £5,000 of takings from the convenience store, but was recognised and identified by the shopkeeper as a regular customer.

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The 45-year-old, of Ash Tree Walk, Stanks, later admitted robbery and was given an extended nine-year jail sentence this week.

Templeton stole £5,000 from the Best One on Stanks Parade. (pic by WYP / Google Maps)Templeton stole £5,000 from the Best One on Stanks Parade. (pic by WYP / Google Maps)
Templeton stole £5,000 from the Best One on Stanks Parade. (pic by WYP / Google Maps)

Judge Tom Bayliss KC said of the footage: “It’s disturbing to watch. You threatened to take his life while all the time brandishing the knife and making stabbing actions towards him. He, not surprisingly, was in fear of his life. Your actions were terrifying.”

Prosecutor Jade Edwards said that Templeton walked into the shop at around 4pm on May 13 while other customers were present. With his head bowed, he walked in and directly over to the security door which led to the area behind the counter, and kicked it open.

He then shouted: “Open the f****** or I will take your f****** life.” He lifted the knife up towards the worker and punched him around the head before grabbing around £300 from one till, and £700 from the second. He then demanded the worker open the safe, which the employee initially refused to do, but Templeton then made more threats to kill him, holding the knife to his neck.

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He eventually took more than £4,000 from the safe. Templeton was arrested at his home address two days later. He gave no comments during his police interview.

As well as the robbery, he admitted two counts of shoplifting from Co-op in Swarcliffe, an assault on a worker in Co-op, a vagrancy offence, possession of cannabis and failing to surrender to custody. All of the offences took place between February and April.

Mitigating, Stuart Field told the court that Templeton feels he has become “institutionalised”, having first being sent into custody at the age 15. He says he has spent 30 years of his life being returned to jail time and again. He has 33 convictions from 109 offences, including thefts and robbery. His last conviction was aggravated vehicle taking earlier this year.

Mr Field said: “In his view, he is institutionalised. His anxiety is high, and has often turned to alcohol and drugs to address that. Of course it’s not the answer to it and in turn it is the driver of his offending.

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"It’s absolutely no excuse, he is appalled by his behaviour.”

He said he was now completing course in prison, undergoes voluntary drug tests regularly and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

His sentence is made up of six years’ jail, with three years on extended licence period.