A ROBBER who attacked a shopkeeper for £10 a month after he was freed early from prison for a similar offence was jailed for more than three years today.
Stephen Bollard was tackled by his victim who grabbed his arm and pulled his hood down over his face.
But the High Court in Edinburgh heard that the Irishman began flailing with a screwdriver making “downward stabbing motions” in the direction of Mohammad Ramzan.
Advocate depute Ross Macfarlane said: “Mr Ramzan was terrified, but he fought off the accused and he managed to avoid being struck by the blade.”
Unemployed Bollard, 25, staggered backwards before fleeing from the newsagent and grocer’s shop in Edinburgh Road, Cockenzie, in East Lothian.
The prosecutor said: “Mr Ramzan immediately telephoned the police. He was very shaken, but physically unharmed by the event.”
Mr Macfarlane said the victim had run Cockenzie Newsagent for more than 20 years and was working alone in the shop about 6 am on August 16 last year when Bollard struck.
A judge told Bollard: “When you committed this offence you were under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”
Lord Uist said it was clear from a background report and his previous convictions that he had “a long-standing drug misuse problem”.
He jailed Bollard for three years and two months, but ordered that he first serve 183 days imprisonment, which was outstanding from his previous sentence for armed robbery with a knife.
The judge also ordered that he should be kept under supervision for a further two years.
Bollard had run into the premises wearing a hoodie top with his face entirely obscured by the garment.
He was holding the screwdriver and ran up to the counter shouting “Gimme your money. Gimme your money.”
The till had been opened to serve a customer and Bollard leaned across the counter and took a tenner before the struggle broke out.
The advocate depute said that following the robbery acquaintances of Bollard had gone to the shop to buy cigarettes but were refused entry as the police were in attendance.
They formed the view that Bollard had been the likely robber and told officers of their concerns.
Bollard was detained at his home address in Granton Medway, in Edinburgh, and taken to a police station where he gave a “no comment” interview. After he was charged he said: “It wasn’t me. It’s got nothing to do with me.”
Bollard earlier admitted assaulting Mr Ramzan, demanding money from him, struggling with him, repeatedly attempting to strike him and robbing him of £10.
In April last year Bollard was jailed for 14 months for robbery at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, but following backdating of the sentence he was released in July. Bollard was subject to a supervised release order when he struck again the following month.
Defence counsel Paul Nelson said: “He expresses his remorse to the court and to the shopkeeper for his criminal conduct.”