TRAUMA experienced during a violent smash and grab robbery at Deacon & Son jewellers in September last year continues to haunt the three employees on duty at the time.
As the five men responsible were sentenced to a combined total of almost 23 years in prison at Swindon Crown Court yesterday , Judge Douglas Field reflected on the after effects staff were still experiencing.
The quintet, all from Coventry, stole £294,817 in jewels from the shop after bursting through the door shortly after 9.30am on September 17 last year.
All of the stolen items were recovered by Wiltshire Police, which was praised for its good work by the judge, but Karen Deacon, Julie Flack and Belinda Goddard must face the psychological effects for some time.
In sentencing, Judge Field said: “This was a well-planned robbery and it has many aggravating features. There was the vulnerability of the premises involved, containing valuable stock, which was clearly targeted.
“All of you were part of a team of five which came down from the Midlands to Wiltshire, carrying crowbars, wearing disguises and rushed into that shop.
“Two of you were smashing through glass units and the three middle-aged ladies were clearly shocked and terrified.
“They have suffered perhaps no physical injuries, but there has been psychological damage.
Paul Gallimore, 33, Marcus Cohen, 34, Linton Summerfield, 20, Cristian Coulson, 20, and Leroy Green, 35, all said they were recruited the night before the robbery took place, in their mitigations. The court heard they had driven to Wiltshire on the morning of the incident in two vehicles, a black Seat Ibiza and a gold Citroen Picasso. The Ibiza was left in a village lane far from the jewellers in Marlborough, as the five made their way to the scene in the Picasso.
CCTV seen in court showed four of the men entering the shop wearing black clothes and balaclavas. Cohen is seen to grab Karen Deacon by the arm and demand to be taken to the store’s safe.
As she leads Cohen away, the remaining three smash through the glass units in the store with crowbars, scooping the valuables into black bags as they go.
Within five minutes the quartet left the shop and were driven away by Green, who was waiting outside.
The Citroen was driven to where the Ibiza had been parked and after switching to the latter, the Picasso was burnt out and discarded.
In the ensuing chase on the northbound carriageway of the A346 and A419, the Seat collided with two vehicles near Great Western Hospital in Swindon and all five ran from the car.
Summerfield, Cohen and Gallimore were caught by police officers soon after, but Green and Coulson were ultimately tracked down days later, through forensic evidence left in the car.
Green received a five-and-a-half year sentence, including six months for a separate attempted burglary, Gallimore five years, Cohen four years and eight months, Summerfield and Coulson both received four years each.
Richard Deacon, owner at Deacon & Son, said: “On behalf of Deacon & Son Ltd, we are delighted that the robbers have been sentenced and justice will be served.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Wiltshire Police for all their help in apprehending the robbers on the day of the robbery and recovering the property stolen.”