A KNIFE-WIELDING shop robber who exploded furiously in the dock when he was convicted has been jailed for six years.
Luke Aaron Russell, 23, tried to rob the Premier Express shop in Kingsland Terrace, off Leeman Road, a year ago but was thwarted when shopkeeper Tamer Hamanda used a lottery scratch-card stand to fend him off.
Russell, above, of Cromer Street in Clifton, was sentenced on Thursday but was not allowed to return to York Crown Court, following his outburst last month immediately after a jury returned their guilty verdict.
Instead, he appeared via a video link to Hull Prison, so Recorder Tim Roberts could sentence him for what the judge called an “extremely determined” attempt to rob the shop a year ago.
Passing the sentence, the judge told Russell: “I witnessed for myself to your great disgrace the aggressive, volatile temper which you displayed to that shopkeeper.
“Your behaviour (in the dock) was such as to reduce two female members of the jury to tears and distress, shaking uncontrollably in the courtroom as you intimidated them, as you abused them and as you used violence such that six officers had to be deployed to restrain you.”
Russell had denied attempted robbery. Through his barrister Matt Donkin at the sentencing hearing, he apologised for his behaviour in court to the judge and to the jury. He did not react as sentence was passed.
The jury saw a CCTV recording of the failed robbery during which Russell brandished a knife at Tamer Hamanda at 8.05pm on February 5 last year and when the shopkeeper resisted, got behind the counter to continue his attack.
But Mr Hamanda fended him off with a scratch-card stand and Russell had to flee empty-handed.
Tamer Hamanda outside his shop
Mr Donkin said that Russell had a “fragility” and had been found unconscious, hanging in his prison cell three weeks before his trial. “The concerns about his mental health continue,” he said.
Russell’s criminal career began when he was 14. Before he was 18, he had threatened a witness, committed a wounding, served detention and training orders for burglary and robbing two Chinese students in the street.
In 2010, still 17, he jumped out of the dock at York Magistrates Court and got away when he was told he could be jailed for two years.
He was caught following a police manhunt and jailed for two years and nine months for escape and robbing a man in the street. He had initially claimed falsely that he was with his girlfriend at the time, similar to the claim he made during his trial for the Premier Express shop robbery.
In July 2015, he was convicted of an unrelated offence of carrying a knife in public.