Armed robber who attacked shopkeeper with claw hammer is jailed

The convenience store on Shaw Street in Armadale. Picture: Google Street View
The convenience store on Shaw Street in Armadale. Picture: Google Street View

An armed robber who was abusing the tranquilliser Xanax was jailed today after carrying out an attack on a West Lothian shopkeeper with a claw hammer.

On February 2, Derek Meikle walked in to Riaz Convenience Store in Armadale and demanded cash from the till.

When Meikle was told there was no money in it he began lashing out at shopkeeper Mohammad Nisar with a claw hammer.

The sustained assault was captured on CCTV before Meikle, 29, left the premises without having secured any cash, but did take the till monitor.

Meikle had been released early from a previous 10-year sentence for serious violent offending and although his licence was revoked six months before the robbery he remained at large in the community until his latest crime.

A judge ordered that he should serve 1000 days of the previous sentence before beginning a six-year term for the Armadale armed robbery.

Lord Arthurson told Meikle at the High Court in Edinburgh that he would have jailed him for nine years for the robbery but for his guilty plea.

The judge pointed out that Meikle had continued his attack on the victim even after he had sought refuge in the rear of the shop.

Meikle admitted assaulting Mr Nisar and robbing him of a till monitor at the Riaz Convenience Store, in Shaw Place, Armadale, in West Lothian, on February 2 this year.

He demanded money from his victim and repeatedly struck him with the claw hammer and a piece of shelving but left without gaining cash from his crime.

Advocate depute Michael Meehan said that two members of the public had contacted police after entering the shop and finding clear signs of a disturbance and the victim apparently in shock.

When police attended he told them that he had known his attacker for about 10 years but was not sure of his name.

CCTV footage clearly showed Meikle’s face and he was seen more than two hours after the attack walking in South Street, Armadale, towards the town centre and was detained.

Mr Meehan said: “He was wearing the same clothing as observed on the CCTV footage and was easily identifiable.”

Footage of the attack was shown to the court and Meikle was seen entering the shop and wandering around while another customer made a purchase.

When the older customer left Meikle went up to the counter and demanded cash and then began striking his victim on his hands, wrists and left shoulder after he was told there was no money.

Mr Nisar managed to retreat into the rear office but Meikle continued striking his hammer against the door.

The attack victim used a golf club shaft to try to fend off Meikle but he continued to swipe at him with the weapon.

He smashed the hammer into shelves inflicting damage on the shop before dropping the weapon and then used part of a shelf to attack the victim, before picking up the hammer and using it again to beat Mr Nisar.

The court heard that Mr Nisar suffered bruising, swelling and a cut following the assault on him.

Meikle, a prisoner in Addiewell, was released in May 2016 from the previous sentence imposed on him at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2011.

Mr Meehan said his licence was due to expire in January 2021. His licence was revoked on July 31 last year but he was not returned to prison until he was arrested following the assault and robbery this year.

Defence solicitor advocate Stuart Carson said Meikle had a background of drug abuse and during his previous sentence he was prescribed a heroin substitute.

“Towards the end of January 2018 he started using a substance called Xanax and had been taking that for about two weeks or so. He has a poor recollection of events from that time and a poor recollection of the incident,” he said.

He said Meikle wished to apologise to the victim for his behaviour and for what he had done.

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