A SHOPKEEPER today told how he wants to sell his store after suffering flashbacks from a gunpoint robbery which has left him scared to work.
Javed Iqbal said the terrifying incident had “changed how I am as a person” as the armed robber appeared in court yesterday to admit the offence.
Mohammed Jabran, 20, who was a regular customer at the store and had even carried out flooring work at Mr Iqbal’s home, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh to assault and robbery.
Jabran and two other men wore horror film masks to raid the shop in Colinton Mains Drive, pointing a long black pistol at Mr Iqbal and threatening to shoot him if he did not empty the till.
But as they fled, Mr Iqbal was able to pull away the mask of one suspect and was shocked to see he knew the robber.
Mr Iqbal, 45, said: “It’s left me frightened to do my work. I jump every time the door opens and someone comes into the shop. I suffer flashbacks which can happen at any time of day. It’s been a very difficult time for me since this happened. I’m worried working here, especially at night.
“I’ve had trouble sleeping so I go to the doctor to get sleeping tablets. I used to talk to lots of people but now I’m quiet. It’s really changed how I am as a person.
“It makes me think that I want to give up the shop and get out of this business. I think I will give up in the future as I don’t want to do it any more. I had a successful business and now I don’t want to come to work.
“My wife and friends have been helping out but I still don’t want to be here. It was a horrible thing to happen.”
During the ordeal, Jabran went behind the counter and scooped cash and packs of cigarettes into a plastic bag.
Mr Iqbal managed to press his personal attack alarm and the man with the gun ran out of the shop to a waiting car. He then managed to tackle Jabran and pulled away his mask.
Mr Iqbal instantly recognised Jabran, who had carried out flooring work at his home along with his father back in 2008.
He added: “I’d known him since he was in primary school and through high school. He was a regular customer in the shop who would come and say hello.
“He always seemed okay. When I pulled off the mask and saw it was him I was shocked. I have no idea why he would do it. I’m glad that it’s over now. He deserves a prison sentence for committing a very serious armed robbery.”
Two shocked customers – who, as the court heard yesterday, thought they were going to die during the incident – have also suffered from panic attacks and depression.
Judge Lord Turnbull watched CCTV footage of the incident at the Colinton Mains Convenience Store when three men burst in on the evening on June 2.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, said after Jabran’s arrest he spent some time in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital until doctors decided he was faking or exaggerating mental health symptoms. Mr McSporran said the gun, wrapped in a plastic bag, was found nearby by a dog walker. It was described as a “soft air pistol”.
He added: “It has the appearance of a firearm, however, and it is clear from their statements that the witnesses believed it to be a real gun.”
Police said today that inquiries were ongoing to trace the other two suspects.
Jabran faces sentence in October after background reports have been prepared.