Drug-addled Walsall gunman jailed after four-hour crime spree
A drug-addled gunman who threatened three people with a gun during a terrifying four-hour rampage was starting a six year jail sentence today.
Robert Hobbins had been clearing snow from his partner's £14,500 Mercedes sports car and was sitting in the driver's seat at 5.40am when he heard the crunch of footsteps, a judge heard.
Moments later Joseph Hall pointed a weapon at him and warned: 'I want your car otherwise you will get it. I will shoot you in the face,' Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
He leaned into the car, put the weapon two feet from Mr Robbins, who believed it was a real gun, and repeated: 'Get out,' which the man did.
The 31-year-old defendant started the Mercedes but the wheels kept spinning in the snow and after 30 seconds he gave up and could not take the ignition key with him as he fled on foot because he the vehicle was in 'drive' mode, continued Mr Glyn Samuel, prosecuting.
Mr Hobbins, who had called police from his mobile, followed for a short distance before the shock of the attack hit him. "I was shaking all over," he told officers later. "As far as I am concerned he was ready and able to shoot me because the hammer was drawn back. I thought I was going to die. It was all over in three minutes but it felt like a lifetime."
Less than two hours later Hall was at the wheel of a Peugeot, taken from somebody who did not wish to make a complaint, when he had a minor accident in Mellish Road, Walsall.
The driver of the other car, Mark Woods, put his car into reverse when the defendant pointed the pistol at him and ordered: 'Move.'
The Peugeot was then abandoned in Station Road, Aldridge, by Hall who took a taxi ride from nearby Westfield Road, during which he showed the gun to the cabbie and declared: 'I will shoot you, the police, anyone.'
In a ruse, the driver stopped for petrol at a filling station and dashed into the forecourt kiosk where he and a member of staff locked themselves in a storeroom.
All the victims thought the gun was a genuine revolver when in fact it was a very realistic loaded BB gas gun, the court heard.
Cocaine-addict Hall dumped the weapon in a garden and stole a bottle of beer from the Spar shop in Northgate, Aldridge before being arrested by armed police at the end of his December 12 crime spree.
Mr Stephen Cadwaladr, defending, said: "This was ludicrous behaviour by a man who was under the influence of drugs and not thinking straight."
Hall from Fisher Road, Mossley, who had previous convictions for violence and possession of a shotgun, was jailed by Judge Dean Kershaw who told him: "You saw an opportunity to petrify people and knew the fear you were instilling. The effect on them was enormous."