Former Bradford City player Lewis Emanuel jailed over robbery - full report from court

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lewis Emanuel in his days playing for Bradford City Lewis Emanuel in his days playing for Bradford City

A former Bradford City footballer has been jailed for eight years for being a getaway driver in an armed robbery at a Post Office which netted £16,000.

Bradford-born Lewis Emanuel, 30, plotted with three other men who carried an imitation firearm and wore balaclavas to raid a post office in Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield.

In the incident, a three-year-old girl was ordered to lie on the floor with her mother and grandmother while waiting four minutes for the timelock on the safe to be opened.

The postmistress Jill Brennan, 50, was confronted by two men in balaclavas who shouted: “Give us the money, give us the money.” She was described as looking white with fear.

Emanuel, of Lowfield Close, Low Moor, Bradford, and Craig Ward, 26, of Lindale Road, Woodside, Bradford, admitted a charge of robbery and possession of a firearm with intent and appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court.

Emanuel, a left-back who played 139 league games for Bradford, claimed he was only the getaway driver of the second vehicle – a Ford Transit van A text between Emanuel’s wife Kristy and the wife of Ward after the robbery said: “I thought they might have got more.”

“This was clearly a reference to Emanuel’s involvement,” said prosecutor Anthony Dunne. He said analysis of the GPS position of Emanuel’s telephone showed he was carrying out reconnaissance on the post office in Commercial Road prior to May 24.

Defence barrister Andrew Walker said: “Mr Emanuel was once a man who had the world at his feet. Quite literally. He played professional football appearing at Wembley and appearing in the Premier League.

“He suffered an injury to his foot which ironically did not occur on the football pitch, but more simply at home. The compensation payable to him was not like that given to the players at the top of the ladder. He ended up scratching around for a living. He found himself at the bottom of the pile and depressed. He is easily led and missing in the wrong circle, which lead to this offence. If he could take it back he would.”

He said the sentence would hit his children aged ten, five and four the hardest as they would not see their dad.

The court heard Ward had 19 previous convictions and had served a 21-month sentence for causing actual bodily harm.

Sentencing them both to eight years in prison Judge Simon Jack said: “I have to sentence you for a very serious offence of robbery. A firearm was carried, all-be-it a realistic imitation. Balaclavas were worn.

“There were two vehicles, one which was burnt out and it was carried out with a degree of persistence.

“I have heard that you both had difficulties with your careers. You have both lost your jobs through misfortune. That is regrettable, but no excuse for what you did.”

He said despite Emanuel playing a lesser role, he took part in planning, knew the target and what was going to happen.

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