Knife robber jailed for five years for raid on Wolverhampton newsagent

An armed robber who put a woman shop keeper through a terrifying knifepoint ordeal has been jailed for five years.

Patrick Forbes threatened to stab Rita Lal at her family's newsagents in Wolverhampton and cut her hand before escaping with £40, the city's Crown Court was told.

The 48-year-old serial criminal walked in to K.L. News on Birmingham Road near the city centre clutching a kitchen knife around 12.30pm on March 1, a judge heard.

He walked up to Mrs Lal, asked if her husband was in and after being told the man was out replied 'its his lucky day,' revealed prosecutor Mr Gary Cook.

"He lifted the flap of the counter and came in with the knife. The lady was frightened, he grabbed hold of her as she tried to get away and she fell to the ground," said Mr Cook.

"He was standing over her with the blade of the knife pointed down towards her and was moving it towards her in a stabbing motion last than a foot away. All she could was scream."

Forbes, who had a string of previous convictions including a knife point robbery and possession of a sawn off shotgun, warned he would cut the wedding ring from her hand if she did not hand it over, the court heard.

A customer stepped in and hit the attacker with a broom but was warned that the robber would hurt the victim more unless he backed off, explained Mr Cook.

Forbes escaped with £40 from the till, the £400 wedding band and another gold ring worth around £300 before fleeing, it was said.

She suffered a cut to a hand between the thumb and index finger that required four stitches.

He was arrested on March 14 after being picked out in an identity parade by the customer who had hit him with a broom.

Mr Timothy Pole, defending, said: "My client is realistic about his fate and at the end of this sentence he hopes to finally put some foundation down so that the life that lies ahead of him can be more productive than it has been during his carer as a criminal."

Forbes, from Studley Road, in Luton, admitted robbery and possession of a knife and was sent to prison for five years with a five year extended licence by Judge Michael Challinor.

"This was a planned offence during which a weapon was used," said the judge.

"The physical harm caused was relatively minor but it must have been very frightening for the victim. "Small shops like this provide a service to the community and often have a single member of staff. Those people are very vulnerable and the courts must do all they can to protect them from people like you. Because of your previous convictions and the circumstances of this offence I believe that you pose a significant risk of harm to the public."