A would-be robber wielding a "frightening-looking weapon" left a convenience store empty handed because of a worker's remarkable bravery, a court heard.

Zane Ashford, of Cumberland Road in Partington, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentence on Friday.

The 23-year-old had previously admitted that on July 2 last year, he attempted to rob his victim, Ramanan Selvarasa, of cigarettes and money.

He further admitted that on that occasion, at Holywell Convenience Store, he had with him a machete with which he threatened the same victim.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, told the court that on the day of the offence, Mr Selvarasa was was working alone at his brother's shop.

At around 8.45pm, two males entered - one of whom had a black face mask on and was carrying a machete (Ashford) and the other had a red neckerchief covering his face.

The machete carrying man advanced on the victim and demanded that he open the till and give him cigarettes.

Meanwhile the other man acted as "lookout."

Mr Selvarasa, despite being scared, began to defend himself - moving towards Ashford and picking up a wine bottle.

Ashford made "wild swings" with the machete and caught the victim on the arm, causing a graze.

However thanks to Mr Selvarasa's bravery and persistence, both men fled the scene empty handed.

£60 worth of damage was caused in the incident, during which the defendant had thrown and pushed items off shelves.

The court saw CCTV footage of the terrifying incident.

Just a couple of days later, police found the machete and clothing matching what the raiders wore in a bush near a bowling club in Holywell.

Mr Selvarasa reviewed his CCTV footage from that day and spotted Ashford and his companion entering the store hours earlier.

They could be identified by their trainers and were fully unmasked on the earlier visit.

In his victim statement, Mr Selvarasa said: "I watched that CCTV and I am amazed I wasn't seriously injured of even killed.

The Leader: Zane Ashford (North Wales Police)Zane Ashford (North Wales Police) (Image: North Wales Police)"I've lived in a lot of countries and I can't believe this happened in Wales.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

"I feel so lucky to have come away with just a cut on my arm; those men could have killed me."

The court heard the co-defendant had not attended his first hearing in the Magistrates Court and a warrant is outstanding for his arrest.

Christopher Field, defending, told the court: "The circumstances leading up to this offence are odd for one striking reason; there's no ramping up of offending.

"This is very much an offence out of the blue.

"The defendant had broken up with his girlfriend of some six years and his uncle had died.

"For reasons unknown, he came to Holywell from Manchester and started to associate with some undesirable characters.

The Leader:

"He committed the offence and then after that, something I am sure he should be grateful for - his sister came and dragged him back to Manchester.

"His partner is six months pregnant with his child and he is now in full time employment."

Mr Field said he was highly regarded by his employer for being "punctual, reliable, courteous and trustworthy."

"It does appear these offences are very much a blip and a blot on a very young life," he said.
Judge Niclas Parry told Ashford: "This would have been a terrifying experience for your victim.

"Small convenience stores offer an important service to the community but they are easy targets for people like you.

"Often, as in this case, they are manned by one staff member and because of that, they are easy prey.


"This was pre-planned. You took that frightening-looking weapon in with you and not only did you brandish it, you raised it.

"Anyone who was ever to deal with this case in the future should watch the CCTV and see how you swing it.

"Because of his remarkable bravery, protecting his brother's shop, you left empty handed."

The defendant received a jail term of two years and eight months.