Robber jailed over hammer attack on Leeds betting shop

George Doherty
George Doherty
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A violent robber has been jailed for five years after he terrorised staff with a hammer during a raid at a betting shop.

George Doherty was caught after he was recognised from CCTV footage of the attack despite wearing a mask and deerstalker hat to hide his identity.

Doherty, 33, struck at the William Hill betting shop in Armley at 6.30pm on March 9 this year as a male and female member of staff were alone inside the premises.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said: “He immediately said to the female teller: ‘Give me the money’

“He pulled a hammer from his pocket. She was terrified and ran into the back of the shop.”

The male member of staff also ran into the back room and they locked themselves inside before contacting police.

Doherty then used the hammer to smash through the plastic screens on the counter to get to the tills.

He took £157 and left before officers arrived.

Images of Doherty carrying out the robbery from the shop’s CCTV system were circulated and he was identified as living over the road from the premises.

Officers searched his home. Clothing and a balaclava used in the raid were discovered. Doherty, of Hedley Green, Armley, initially denied the offence but pleaded guilty to robbery.

The court heard he has a long criminal history, with 103 convictions for 36 offences. He served a ten-year sentence for robbery and kidnap, committed in 2002, when he threatened a victim with a hypodermic syringe at a cash point before taking them prison. He also has convictions for assaults, thefts and assault.

Jailing Doherty, Recorder Sandra Knapton said: “You must have absolutely terrified those people working in the William Hill betting shop on that occasion. These sorts of offences cannot be overlooked.

“You have extremely bad record, including one for a robbery offence.

Adrian Pollard, mitigating, said Doherty had pleaded guilty to the offence at an early opportunity but accepted he would be facing a lengthy prison sentence.

Mr Pollard said Doherty had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of things that had happened in his past.

The lawyer said Doherty was also suffering from head injuries he received in January last year when he was the victim of a hit-and-run incident.

Mr Pollard said Doherty had been dragged along the road beneath the vehicle during the incident. He added: “He accepts that it was no excuse in the commission of this offence.”

Doherty was identified as living over the road from the betting shop after an anonymous call to police from a member of the public who recognised him .

The call came following appeals for information when Doherty’s image appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Facebook page of the Neighbourhood Policing Team which covers the Armley area.

Doherty was arrested and the mask and clothing used in the robbery were found at his home.

He denied the offence until he was picked out in an electronic identity parade.

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