Robber Joseph Tullett jailed for raids on For Girlys, Co-op, William Hill and Karsons Chemist
Joseph Tullett, jailed for eight years for robberies
A robber who brandished an imitation handgun while terrifying shop staff in a three-day spree has been jailed for eight years.
Joseph Tullett grabbed a total of £645 in raids on three businesses in Medway and one in Gravesend.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 8mm Webley pistol was real but did not have a hammer and the barrel was blocked with a blank cartridge.
The first robbery was at For Girlys fashion shop in Stone Street, Gravesend, on April 30 this year.
Tullett went in during the afternoon and spoke to Deborah Brynd about buying a dress for his girlfriend. He returned about 10 minutes later and asked for £50 in gift vouchers.
Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting, said as Miss Brynd bent down he grabbed her shoulder, pulled her onto the floor and held a vegetable knife near her throat.
He threatened: “I want the money from the till or I will slit your throat.” He demanded money from her purse and wanted to be shown the safe. He was told there was no safe.
Tullett, 28, also demanded her Rolex watch but she managed to press the panic alarm and he fled with just £50. Miss Brynd ran into the street screaming.
That evening, wearing a crash helmet, he went into a Co-op in Pattens Lane, Chatham, as staff were cashing up and asked where the chocolate was. He picked up a drink and went to the till.
He pulled out a £5 note and when the till was opened produced the gun and told assistant Helen Featherstone: “Give me the notes, love.” He pointed the weapon at another staff member and asked: “Where’s the rest of the notes?”
Police at For Girlys clothes shop in Stone Street, Gravesend
“There was a clicking noise from the gun that sounded like it was being cocked,” said Mr Morgan.
Tullett made off with £200. CCTV cameras showed him leaving on the pillion of a motorcycle.
The next day he went to William Hill bookmakers in Ordnance Street, Chatham, and pretended to place a bet.
Joanne Langroudi, who was working alone, asked him to remove his crash helmet and he did so.
He then pulled out the gun and shouted: “Give me the money or I will shoot you.” She handed over £305 and ran to a “safe haven” door and shut herself in the toilet.
The following day Tullett went to Karsons Chemist in City Way, Rochester, and asked how much a packet of chewing gum was.
A police car outside the robbed store in Gravesend
Again, he produced the gun and demanded of assistant Maria Cripps: “Give me the money.” She pressed the panic alarm. Another staff member told him: “No.”
He warned: “I am going to fire it. I am going to shoot you.”
Staff ducked behind the counter. A customer tried to grapple with him and was also threatened. Tullett stole £90.
Mr Morgan said armed officers and a police helicopter were scrambled and Tullett was arrested in an alleyway in Chatham. He was cooperative and told officers where to find the gun.
Tullett, of no fixed address, admitted four offences of robbery and three of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He asked for four burglaries and a theft to be considered.
“Not only were they (staff) terrified on the day but the experience will undoubtedly live with them for many years to come" - Judge Charles Byers
He has 16 convictions for 26 offences and has served three-and-a-half years in prison.
Judge Charles Byers told Tullett he had left behind devastated victims.
“Not only were they terrified on the day but the experience will undoubtedly live with them for many years to come,” he said.
“I can only hope in the fullness of time they will be able to put these matters behind them."
Speaking after today's sentencing, investigating officer, acting Det Sgt Darryll Paulson of Kent Police, said: "Joseph Tullett embarked on a spree of violent offences - four in three days - which left his victims severely distressed and fearful.
"It is thanks to the professionalism of the Kent Police Tactical Firearms Unit, the Investigation Team and also the members of the public that called in when Tullett was at large, that he was stopped from committing further offences.
"He would surely have created more havoc if he had not been caught so swiftly."
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