Sandwich shop hero sat on robber until police arrived

Subway worker Karanvir Johal wrestled thief to the ground, then sat on him to prevent his escape. Picture: Greg Macvean
Subway worker Karanvir Johal wrestled thief to the ground, then sat on him to prevent his escape. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A HEROIC sandwich shop worker who thwarted a raid by ­sitting on a violent, serial thief until ­police arrived to apprehend him today admitted the ordeal left him so terrified he had to flee the country.

Karanvir Johal showed no fear when he leapt over the counter at Subway in Leith Walk and shut Michael Kane in the shop as he tried to flee from the failed robbery after breaking Mr Johal’s nose with one punch.

Kane, 27, who was high on drugs and carrying a knife, managed to force the door open but dropped his weapon in the scuffle – giving Mr Johal a chance to grab him and bundle him to the ground before sitting on him while passers-by called police.

Kane was already wanted over two other violent robberies at shops in the Capital and was yesterday jailed for five years and three months at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Today Mr Johal – who was working alone when Kane entered the shop on November 29 last year – revealed the incident had left him so frightened that he had moved job, changed his mobile number and even left the country for a month to stay with his partner’s family in Latvia.

The 24-year-old, who now works in Subway on Hanover Street, said: “It’s good news he’s been jailed. I’m so happy, because I was so afraid to work in there afterwards.

“When anyone came in and got too close to me, I thought they were going to punch me.”

Kane had entered the shop in November and asked if Mr Johal was working alone, before pretending to forget his money and going back outside. He returned with a knife in his hand and punched Mr Johal in the face, leaving him dazed.

But as Kane tried to open the till, Mr Johal jumped over the counter and ran out of the shop, shutting the door. Kane managed to force it open but he was held down by the shopworker.

Mr Johal, who lives in Leith, and was rushed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment following the incident, said: “I was bleeding so much. When I was sitting on him he was threatening me and saying that he had friends who would kill me. He was trying to hit me with his legs. There were about 20 people watching all the drama outside on the street. I’m still seriously afraid.”

Partner Agnese, 22, added: “I was in work when he called me from the hospital. It’s still kind of scary. I didn’t actually believe that he had done that.”

Kane, who is unemployed and homeless, admitted the robbery bid at Subway and ­robberies at First News in Gorgie Road on September 7 – in which he injured a shopkeeper after wildly slashing at him with a blade – and Dalry News­agents in Dalry Road on ­November 27.

Judge Lord Burns praised the bravery of Mr Johal and told Kane he would have faced a seven-year jail sentence but for his guilty pleas. He also ordered that Kane should be kept under supervision for a further three years following his release.