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Armed robber jailed for Bradford shop raid
A robber has been jailed for six years after he was convicted of a daylight armed raid at a Bradford convenience store.
The jury in the trial of Craig Baldwin took only 90 minutes to unanimously find him guilty of robbing Chotubhai Patel, whose son ran the Premier Whiteways shop in Bolton Lane.
Sentencing him at Bradford Crown Court yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose said Baldwin, armed with a hammer, and an accomplice armed with an air pistol, had worn masks, “firstly to disguise yourselves and secondly, in my opinion, to intimidate and frighten Mr and Mrs Patel”.
The pair made off with up to £950 in cash and £700 of cigarettes in the raid at the newsagent and grocery store on August 7 last year.
The judge praised an “astute, honest and clear-sighted” girl who was aged only ten at the time of the robbery and gave evidence in the trial. He later said she should be commended for her part in “bringing this violent man to justice”.
When asked to look at the balaclava mask worn by Baldwin, or a photograph of it, the court was told, the young girl began to cry. “That was the sort of terror you caused,” Judge Rose told him.
The judge said 23-year-old Baldwin, of West Royd Drive, Windhill, Shipley, had an “appalling” record of offending dating back to 1999 including burglary, theft, assault and breach of an anti-social behaviour order.
Jailing him for six years the judge said: “These courts will protect the public from men like you who see easy pickings in vulnerable shopkeepers. You are, in my view, a man perfectly willing to commit serious and violent crime.”
From the dock after he was sentenced Baldwin continued to protest his innocence and told jurors: “You’ll see me in the papers and you’ll realise you’ve sent an innocent man to jail.”
His pregnant girlfriend wept in the public gallery during the hearing.
Speaking after the sentencing Detective Constable Jason Mohan, of Airedale and North Bradford CID, said: “We welcome the sentencing of Baldwin for his part in inflicting what must have been a terrifying ordeal on his victim.
“This offence took place in daylight in an area where young children were playing and we are pleased the courts have imposed a strong sentence.
“It should also be noted the judge commended the courage of a young female witness who has helped us secure this conviction.”