Teenage armed robber fired gun in Nando's restaurant during 'terrifying' crime spree in Leeds
A teenager terrified staff at a Nando's restaurant in Leeds when he fired a gun during a spree of robberies which left victims in fear of their lives.
Liam Pearcey-Skey also threatened a grocery shop owner with a handgun and robbed a convenience store worker at knifepoint.
The 19-year-old was given an extended prison sentence of nine years over the offences.
Leeds Crown Court heard Pearcey-Skey targeted the Nando's restaurant at Cardigan Fields, Kirkstall Road, on November 4 last year.
Nigel Wray, prosecuting, said the teenager burst into the restaurant as four members of staff were closing for the evening.
He was wearing a face mask when he took out a handgun, pointed it at staff members and said: "Give me the cash."
Pearcey-Skey became angry when he was told there was no cash on the premises as the restaurant had only been accepting card payments.
He then pointed the weapon in the face of a female staff member before aiming towards the back of the restaurant and discharging the gun.
Mr Wray said that although the gun looked real it did not sound loud when fired and staff formed the view that it was not a genuine firearm.
Pearcey-Skey left the restaurant and ran off, leaving the victims feeling extremely scared and frightened.
The defendant tried to rob a grocery shop on Midgley Terrace, Hyde Park, the next day at 6pm.
The shop owner was serving a customer when he became aware of Pearcey-Skey standing in the doorway.
The teenager said: "Give me your money or I will kill you."
The prosecutor said the owner noticed that the teenager was holding what appeared to be a handgun.
He told the robber to get out and ran after him holding a mop.
Pearcey-Skey ran off with two other males who appeared to have been waiting for him outside.
When the owner returned he found his customer hiding behind a display of toilet rolls.
He later told police how he had feared for his life when he saw the handgun.
Pearcey-Skey handed himself in at a police station in Leeds on November 13.
He walked into the station carrying a holdall and admitted being responsible for the attempted robberies.
Mr Wray said: "He said he had had enough and wanted to change his life as he had fallen in with the wrong crowd and didn't want to go to prison."
He handed the holdall to the officer and it contained a samurai sword which had a 12-inch blade.
Pearcey-Skey's home was searched. No weapon was recovered from the property but a box was found for a hand-held gun.
The teenager was released on bail and carried out a robbery at a convenience store on Market Place, Wetherby, on April 19.
He walked into the store and pointed a knife at a female member of staff and demanded cash.
Pearcey-Skey became angry when the victim was unable to open the till.
He tried to use the weapon to force it open but was unable to.
The shop worker managed to press an emergency alarm button before taking the defendant into a back room where there was another till.
He said to the woman: "Don't try anything or I will stab you."
He took £650 in cash from the till before leaving.
The woman later picked out Pearcey-Skey at an identity procedure.
He pleaded guilty to robbery, two counts of attempted robbery and three of possession of a blade in public.
Mr Wray said the victims of the robbery offences had provided statements to the court describing how they had feared for their lives and had suffered from anxiety.
Eddison Flint, mitigating, said: "These were undoubtedly a frightening set of offences and the defendant seeks to apologise for his actions."
The barrister added: "He got in with a group of older young people who were undoubtedly a negative influence on him"
Mr Flint said Pearce-Skey,of Belle Vue Road, Leeds, went on to commit the offence in April after his father died and his mother was unable to pay for a funeral.
He said: "He knows it was wholly wrong but at the time he could not see any other way.
"He couldn't see how they were going to bury his father."
Pearcey-Skey was told he must serve a custodial period of six years, followed by a further licence period of three years.
Judge Simon Phillips QC said he was imposing the sentence as he considered the teenager to pose a serious risk to members of the public.