December 9 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister, Senior Reporter
Monday, January 28, 2013
A Dagenham man who carried out two frightening armed robberies on the same Dagenham bookmakers in little more than a month has been jailed for seven years.
Karl Lawrence raided Coral Bookmakers at 351 Ripple Road, Barking on August 3 and September 7 last year, stealing a total of £1,500.
Staff were made to fear for their lives when the 25-year-old threatened them with a gun during the first robbery and a large knife during the second.
Lawrence, of Woodward Road, Dagenham pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on December 21 to two counts of robbery, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and possession of a bladed article.
On Friday he was sentenced at the same court to seven years in prison.
At 3.45pm on August 3, Lawrence managed to gain access to a secure area in the betting shop and assaulted an elderly male cashier before pulling out a handgun and pointing it at him, according to the Met Police. He said he would shoot if the cashier did not fill the bag with cash. Money was taken from the cash registers and a safe and Lawrence fled with £900.
On September 7 at 8.30am, Lawrence followed a female employee into the bookmakers and as she went behind a counter rushed in behind her and pulled out a large kitchen knife.
He demanded she open a safe and took £605 before fleeing.
Detectives from the Flying Squad later identified Lawrence and he was arrested on September 17.
Detective Constable Fareed Mirza, of the Flying Squad, said: “These were two terrifying ordeals for Lawrence’s victims in which he very deliberately made them fear that they might come to serious harm.
“Anyone who is willing to inflict such fear for their own material gain deserves to spend a significant amount of time behind bars.”