Relief as thugs are jailed for shop raid

Mohammed Iqbal has told of his relief as his attackers are finally jailed
Mohammed Iqbal has told of his relief as his attackers are finally jailed
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A SHOPKEEPER who was brutally stabbed with a needle on a hook 12 years ago has spoken of his relief after two armed robbers who raided his shop in May were jailed.

Mohammed Iqbal was looking after his convenience store with a 12-year-old boy last year when two local men he recognised entered his grocer’s, in Lochend Road South, brandishing a knife.

James Watson, 23, kicked and smashed a door next to the counter before grabbing cigarettes, while Paul Davidson, 20, stole beer and wine from a nearby fridge.

Just hours after the robbery at Pond’s Mini Market, the thugs carried out a street attack in a neighbouring road, where they punched a man’s front teeth out and dragged a woman along the ground after hitting her in the face and kicking her body.

Although Mr Iqbal and the boy “backed off” from the scene, Davidson and Watson threatened to stab the shopkeeper if he did not let them out of the shop, before throwing a bottle of booze, which landed and smashed on the floor beside them.

Yesterday, the pair were jailed for a total of nine years, with Watson receiving five years and Davidson four.

Mr Iqbal said that he had “immediately backed off” from the scene because of his previous experience in 1999, where he was stabbed four times in the stomach and once in the face by a local man.

Mr Iqbal, who still has a scar between his left eye and his nose, said: “A man from the area who was later jailed came at me with a needle on a hook.

“It was a strange instrument, like a chisel. It was a big needle with a hook attached to the other end. I spent two nights in the ERI after the attack, so I have been wary of people with knives since then.

“Nothing had happened like that until last May, but I backed off straight away.

“I was just working in the shop when they came in at around 7pm or 8pm. I recognised them from their clothes that they had been in the shop before. One of them jumped on the counter, he had a knife and he took cigarettes.

“Another picked up alcohol off the shelves. Usually it is a very family orientated shop and all the locals respect each other, so we were really upset.

“We knew the people that were later attacked because they came into the shop, and they were very upset too. Altogether it cost the shop £500.”

He added: “My CCTV was not working at the time so I am grateful my friend next door has CCTV outside his shop.”

Only a few hours later, the thugs began punching David Whyte as he walked along Restalrig Road with Haley Cherry.

Ms Cherry shouted at Mr Whyte to run and began hitting Davidson with her handbag, but she was punched in the face and kicked. The terrified woman was dragged along the ground as she tried to hold on to the bag, but its strap broke and the pair ran off with it.

Mr Whyte tried to call police but his attackers returned to the scene and began beating him again before stealing his phone. He lost his front teeth and was badly bruised.

At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, judge Lord Pentland told Watson: “I am drawn to the conclusion you are a danger to a public who must be protected from your violent and antisocial activities.”

He told Davidson that he appeared to be “a violent and dangerous young man”.