Wolverhampton robber jailed for brutal corner shop raid

A Wolverhampton man has been jailed for taking part in a brutal, racist robbery at a corner shop in Plymouth.

Carl Preece
Carl Preece

Carl Preece was visiting Devon when he met up with a stranger in a park and they decided to rob the nearby convenience store after drinking.

He and co-accused Tommy Hill were both seen on CCTV inside the Premier shop as they barged their way behind the counter. Hill battered and racially abused the assistant while Preece stole the contents of the tobacco cabinet.

The 40-year-old victim was alone in the shop and suffered a broken nose and cracked ribs in a brutal and sustained attack by Hill, who repeatedly racially-abused and threatened to kill him.

The pair fled with £675 worth of tobacco but were traced after police issued a CCTV still of the raid, which took place just after 6pm on April 28 this year, Exeter Crown Court was told.

The victim had just started a six-hour shift after finishing his day job as a data handler. He needed both jobs to support his family in India. He took particular offence at being called Pakistani.

CCTV of them at the shop

Hill, also known as Pengilley, aged 20, of no fixed address, Plymouth, and Preece, aged 27, of Faversham Close, Wolverhampton, admitted robbery. Hill was jailed for six years with a three year extended licence and Preece for five years by Judge Neil Davey, QC.

He told them: “Hill, you had your arm across the victim’s chest while repeatedly punching him time and time again to the head and body and abusing him racially while you, Preece, stole tobacco and cigarettes.

“The victim suffered not only a broken nose and robs but psychological harm. He was a hard working man who was only trying to support his family.”

The judge ruled that Hill, who had only been freed 22 days before from an earlier sentence for causing grievous bodily harm, posed a danger to the public.

Mr Charles Barrass-Evans, prosecuting, said the two men went into the shop at 6.10 pm on April 28 this year and waited until the only other customer had left before they started the attack.

He said: “Hill led the way and launched a frenzied and vicious attack on the victim who was pinned and apparently helpless in a corner. He kept him there throwing punches to his face and body while Preece filled first his trousers, and then a bag with the tobacco and cigarettes.”

He said the victim had written three impact statements detailing how he was still suffering from headaches, vertigo and flashbacks weeks later and was struggling to do his day job, which involved computers, and was fearful of leaving his flat.

Miss Rebecca Wood, for Hill, said he had only just met Preece while drinking in a park and they had gone to the shop to buy tobacco but found they had both run out of cash.

She said: “The robbery was impulsive, not planned and there was no sophistication and no use of a weapon.”

She said Hill had experienced a traumatic childhood which led to mental health issues and caused him to drink and take Valium to cope with anxiety.

Mr Michael Green, for Preece, said he was not involved directly in the violence and disputes that he used racist language.

He said he has no history of violence but has experienced mental health issues as a result of a disrupted childhood in the care system.

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