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Robber jailed after targeting Iconic Jewellery Store in Canterbury high street

A homeless man who tried stealing diamond rings from a jewellers was arrested after a brave shop worker chased him down.

Graham Walters targeted the high-end Iconic Jewellery Store in Canterbury high street, posing as a potential buyer.

Graham Walters has been jailed for robbing the Iconic jewellery store in The Parade, CanterburyPicture: Kent Police
Graham Walters has been jailed for robbing the Iconic jewellery store in The Parade, CanterburyPicture: Kent Police

A court was told he hoped to sell the rings to feed his drug addiction, having suffered a relapse after being set on fire in his tent next to the River Stour days before.

But as the 38-year-old tried fleeing with £6,800 worth of gold and platinum jewels, he was chased down by staff and held in the shop until police arrived.

Walters, who has 22 previous convictions for 43 offences, had gone to the store in The Parade on February 27.

But a staff member formulated a plan after she became hyper-vigilant the moment Walters entered.

“When this defendant entered she was immediately suspicious of him because of his appearance, and he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” prosecutor Jordan Santos explained.

When Walters asked for a closer inspection of some diamond rings, the staff member “replied loudly to attract the attention” of her colleague in another room, Mr Santos added.

After removing them from the display case she noticed Walters became “fixated” on the jewellery, the court heard.

He queried the price in an attempt to distract the staff member by drawing her attention back to the display case.

The trial is taking place at Canterbury Crown Court
The trial is taking place at Canterbury Crown Court

Walters then lunged towards the jewellery, prompting her to grab hold of him.

Following a struggle, he ran off with two of the rings.

But her colleague, Trevor Fitzgerald, leapt into action and apprehended Walters in the street minutes later, with the help of two good Samaritans.

Mr Fitzgerald was “able to bring him back to the shop”, where police were called and found Walters in possession of two chisels.

Since the robbery, the staff member is awaiting treatment for a damaged tendon in her hand, understood to have been caused during the struggle.

The court was told the ordeal has left her feeling “anxious when strangers are walking behind her”.

Mitigating for Walters, barrister Phil Rowley said days before the robbery he had suffered serious burns after the tent he was living in next to the River Stour was set on fire.

He was inside the makeshift home when it was targeted by a knife-wielding man disguised in a mask from the American horror film Scream.

Struggling with the pain, Walters relapsed into drug addiction to help cope and robbed the jewellers to fund his habit, Mr Rowley continued.

The judge, Recorder Stuart Trimmer KC, jailed Walters for three years and four months on Friday after he admitted robbery.

He said Walters, who appeared remotely from HMP Elmley, targeted the shop because it sold particularly high-value rings and was manned by a lone and vulnerable woman.

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