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Man jailed for terrifying knife-point robbery at Buckley chemists

Published date: 24 March 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MAN has been jailed after carrying out a terrifying knife-point robbery on Christmas Eve.

Mark Williams, 39, of Alyn Road in Buckley, was well known at Lloyd’s Pharmacy in Buckley and was jailed for four years and eight months after targeting the store.

The former drug addict who also had alcohol problems had received his prescriptions there and pharmacist Grant Earlam, the manager, had helped him on a number of occasions.

Mold Crown Court heard how Mr Earlam suspected nothing when the defendant entered and asked for a private consultation.

But he then produced a large kitchen knife with a six inch blade and told him to close the premises.

The court heard how Mr Earlam bravely talked to the defendant to calm him down, and persuaded him to go and see his doctor.

He even made the arrangements and offered to walk with him to the surgery, telling him that he would not mention the knife if he co-operated.

But the defendant, fearing arrest, became agitated again and while other staff cowered in a corner he forced the pharmacist to hand over dangerous drugs.

He then fled and police who were on their way to the robbery saw him enter a house in Alyn Road.

They spoke to him through a window where he threatened to shoot an officers head off if he entered.

He said that he was going to get five years for the robbery and spoke of wanting to die.

Williams said that he would shoot himself and then said he did not want to hurt any officers because it was Christmas.

He was arrested following a two hour stand-off at the house.

To make matters worse Williams was on a suspended sentence at the time which was activated consecutively.

In total he received 70 months.

Judge David Hale told him: “As you know, you must face a substantial custodial sentence today.”

He said that he accepted that Williams was “in a disturbed state of mind” at the time of the robbery but he had gone there with a knife and threatened the pharmacist to such an extent that he had to hand dangerous drugs over.

It had upset not only him but other members of staff who saw what was happening.

“People who work in the health service have to be protected,” Judge Hale said.

“Here is someone who has helped you in the past.”

There were many vulnerable people who relied on pharmacists to give them their methadone and their prescriptions.

“Pharmacists must know that they will be protected like other NHS employees,” he said.

The defendant would have received seven years for the robbery but for his guilty plea.

Emalyne Downing, prosecuting, said that Williams entered the pharmacy at about 4.30pm on Christmas Eve.

During a private consultation he produced a large kitchen knife, asked for the premises to be closed and for the drugs cabinet to be opened.

He said that he wanted cocaine and heroin but was told they had none.

The victim tried to reassure him and calm him down and after a while he was able to call his doctor to arrange for him to see him.

But he then again told him to close the pharmacy, other staff who realised what was happening ran into a stock room, and Mr Earlam was able to press the panic alarm.

Williams left saying he was sorry and he told other staff that he would not hurt them.

He was eventually handed 200mg of methadone and 14 diazepam tablets.

In a victim impact statement the pharmacist told how he felt threatened and shaken and other members of staff had also been affected.

Paul Smith, defending, said that his client wished to apologise to the pharmacist and his staff.

He was deeply remorseful and recognised that they had been very good to him over a number of years when he had significant problems with substance and alcohol abuse.

l AT THE time Williams was on a 14-month suspended prison sentence after he produced a base ball bat and launched a frenzied attack on three people in a house in Buckley.

One of the victims later described Williams as “acting like a madman”.

Williams, said to have a shocking criminal record, admitted GBH, ABH, a charge of common assault and possessing a wooden bat and a craft knife in Park Road, Buckley, following the incident in September of 2012.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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