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Ryan Diggens accuses shopkeeper shot in the neck in Ramsgate of starting fight

By Paul Hooper

One of the men accused of taking part in an armed robbery attempt has blamed the store assistant for starting the fight.

Ryan Diggens told a jury he had been with pal Alexandr Saprykin who had gone to International Foods in Ramsgate’s High Street.

The jobless 23 year old said he had planned to visit a bakery and was having a cigarette outside the shop when Saprykin is alleged to have shot the assistant in the neck during the botched heist.

Police at the scene. Picture: Jamie Kight
Police at the scene. Picture: Jamie Kight

He said: “I was going to the bakery opposite the police station to get my usual ham roll and sausage roll.

"Then Alex said he had to go into International Foods to speak with a friend there or to buy something.

“After 20 seconds, all of a sudden out of nowhere fighting started in the shop.

"From my perspective the shopkeeper was the person who started (the fight).

“They were proper punches. It was like a professional boxing fight..." - Ryan Diggens

“It was very fast. The two of them tussling. They seemed like they were choking each other to death.

“They seem very good fighters. They tumbled into the shelf and the shopkeeper had Alex in a headlock.

“They were proper punches. It was like a professional boxing fight. You’d think they were in training.”

Diggens said he “felt sorry for both parties” and went inside the shop to help.

He added: “They were continuing to fight. I do recall hearing some noise. It sounded like a radio with a bad connection.”

The prosecution has alleged that the men used a BB gun and a taser during the incident in February.

The prosecution allege the men used a taser during the incident
The prosecution allege the men used a taser during the incident

Diggens claimed that as he was pulling his friend away he received a punch “I assumed from" the shopkeeper.

“At that point I realised I am not helping the situation one little bit, so for my own safety I left the premises.”

Outside he claimed Saprykin’s partner Greta, who had gone with the men to the store, shouted at him: “You can’t leave. Help him. Help him.”

He was asked by defence lawyer Phil Rowley: “Did you punch the shopkeeper or kick him?” and Diggins replied: “No, no.”

Under cross examination from prosecutor Peter Forbes, Diggins admitted he had lied to police after his arrest.

Mr Forbes added: “You were blatantly trying to mislead police weren’t you?”

Diggins replied: “I suppose so. I was stressed and panicked. They were lies and I apologise. I really do.”

Shop assistant Ibrahim Ahmedi had earlier claimed he fought off a would-be robber armed with a gun and a taser.

Mr Ahmedi – who was shot in the neck during the incident, said: "I was shocked when I saw the gun.

“He started shooting and I realised I had to do something. I knew I had to take it (the gun) off him."

Diggens, of Trove Court, Ramsgate and Saprykin 40, of Chapel Place, Ramsgate both deny charges of attempted robbery and three firearms charges.

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