PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:28 06 May 2010
IN AN ATTEMPT to help a friend who was under threat from drug dealers, 21-year-old Colin Welsh robbed an off-licence, hitting the owner with a pool cue. The moment of madness from an otherwise hard working and law abiding man led to a three-year jail te
IN AN ATTEMPT to help a friend who was under threat from drug dealers, 21-year-old Colin Welsh robbed an off-licence, hitting the owner with a pool cue.
The "moment of madness" from an otherwise hard working and law abiding man led to a three-year jail term last week at Luton Crown Court.
Welsh, of Albert Street, Stevenage, pleaded guilty to robbing Sukha Odedra at his shop in Stevenage Road, Hitchin, on December 9 last year.
Nadia Silva, prosecuting, said that at about 9.50pm when Mr Odedra was alone in the shop Welsh came in and bought a can of soft drink.
But when the till was opened he suddenly produced half a pool cue, hit the victim on the head and grabbed about £180.
The plucky Mr Odedra grabbed Welsh and punched him but he ran off. The shop owner gave chase and caught him again, but after a struggle Welsh got away. The Judge awarded Mr Odedra £250 in recognition of his bravery.
Miss Silva said that night Welsh admitted to his flatmate that he had done something "stupid", and after his arrest he immediately asked if he could meet his victim and apologise in person.
Dylan Moses, defending, said: "This was an extraordinary, out of character act. He feels really sorry for the shopkeeper and his remorse is genuine.
"There have been bad influences in his life recently and this was a moment of madness by a misguided young man who has never acted like this before. It really is very sad."
He said the friend he was trying to help had been given a deadline of 10pm to pay a £200 debt. The robbery was committed 10 minutes before that deadline.
Mr Moses said Welsh did not have a drug problem himself and the victim has said he did not want him to spend a long time in prison mixing with the wrong types.
But Judge Geoffrey Breen said: "Fortunately the victim was not seriously injured, as he could easily have been, and was made of sterner stuff.
"I accept you feel significant remorse but small shops are vulnerable because they are often staffed by one person and are unlikely to have sophisticated security.
"I accept you may well have been under the influence of someone more experienced in committing criminal offences and without that encouragement you may well not have acted as you did.
"This is a sad and difficult case. It is a tragedy for your family for whom I have considerable sympathy, but I also have a public duty to perform.
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