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Maidstone serial armed robber Peter Sanderson jailed for life again after jewels raid at John Angell in Tonbridge

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A dangerous armed robber has been jailed for life for the second time following his convictions for another terrifying raid.

Peter Sanderson will have to serve a minimum of five years before the parole board will consider his release.

A judge told the 51-year-old repeat offender that if a determinate sentence had been imposed it would have been 10 years.

Jewellery robber Peter Sanderson has been jailed for life
Jewellery robber Peter Sanderson has been jailed for life

Sanderson, of Tumin House, Fairmeadow, Maidstone, denied robbery and possessing a bladed article, but was convicted last week.

Maidstone Crown Court heard he robbed John Angell jewellers in Tonbridge High Street on October 2 last year while armed with a dagger.

Sanderson stormed out of the dock back to the cells as Judge Martin Joy was passing sentence, muttering: "I don't need to listen to this."

The judge continued to sentence in his absence.

A jury was told how he went into the jewellers the day before the robbery to target large value items.

The next day, he asked assistant Pamela Daws if he could look at a ring from a tray in the window. When she showed it to him he pulled out the knife and screamed: "Get down."

He ordered the owner to do the same before fleeing with diamond and sapphire rings worth £1,882. The manager and a member of the public gave chase but lost him in New Wharf Road.

After returning unanimous guilty verdicts, jurors heard of Sanderson's 26 convictions for 64 offences.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

In 1990 he was jailed for 10 years for a jewellery raid while armed with a sawn-off shotgun. In April 1999, he was sentenced to eight years for five robberies.

His previous life term, with a minimum tariff of five-and-a-half years, was imposed in April 2006 at Wood Green Crown Court for four robberies in Stoke Newington, north London, and possessing an imitation firearm.

He had been released and was on licence when he committed the latest offences.

After being told Sanderson was previously given life, Judge Martin Joy asked at an earlier hearing: "How come he is free?"

Andrew Espley, defending, said a second life sentence would be "an exercise in futility", as Sanderson would only be released if the Home Secretary decided it was safe to do so.

"I submit that given the nature of this offence was not as severe as the previous ones when you look at it in the round, there is no need to impose a sentence of imprisonment for life," he said.

"This is not so serious that only life can be justified. Mercifully, the victim is a woman of fortitude who has expressed that she has put this behind her. It is worth pointing out nobody got hurt."

Mr Espley added: "Things were going well for him. This is very odd indeed."

Judge Martin Joy
Judge Martin Joy

Passing sentence, Judge Joy said: "There are factors here which take it to the highest level. This was a robbery of a small business in a High Street.

"Such businesses should be able to look to the protection of the court, particularly where weapons are used. I am entirely satisfied this defendant is dangerous.

"He has carried out yet another armed robbery. It must be life imprisonment. I have to recognise the public will be concerned as to exactly what a life sentence does mean."

The judge added that had he imposed a determinate sentence of 10 years, Sanderson would have been entitled to be released when he had served half.

DC Tony Hatcher, from Kent Police, said: "This is a good result which means someone who was a very serious threat to the public has now been taken off the streets.

"Although Sanderson could be eligible for parole in five years he will have to clearly demonstrate that he no longer presents a danger to the public before there is any chance of him being released.

"There is every possibility that Sanderson will remain in prison for a very long time."

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