Armed robber jailed for life

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An armed robber who posed with wads of cash and a diamond ring following a violent raid was jailed for life today.







Bungling brothers Yohan and Yamani Clarke took photographs after the bloody heist at a cash and carry in which one man was shot in the stomach.



But Yohan, who fled the store with bundles of notes and an 18 carat white gold ring, was snared when police caught up with him and came across a camera containing the incriminating images.



Passing sentence at Croydon Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Ainley said the 31-year-old posed a significant risk to the public and ordered him to serve a minimum of 22 years behind bars.



Police said Yohan was one of five men who stormed into the Costco cash and carry store on Imperial Way, in Croydon, on the evening of September 17.



At around 7.40pm, the men burst into the shop and threatened staff. They then used a claw hammer to smash a triple glazed display cabinet containing £70,000 of jewellery - including the single 18 carat white gold ring, valued at £3,500.



Moments later, a shot was fired as brave employees chased them from the store and a 24-year-old was struck in the abdomen.



The robber wielding the gun waved his weapon, officers said, apparently warning staff not to follow.



The Costco worker later required emergency surgery to remove a cartridge from near his aorta.



He also suffered gun shot wounds to his colon, bowel, stomach and pancreas.



Officers finally caught up with Yohan several days after the raid when they stopped a car in Redhill, Surrey.



A search of the vehicle uncovered a digital camera containing a number of photographs of the Clarke brothers posing with bundles of cash, with a ring later identified as that stolen in the robbery.



Yohan, who was unemployed, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob, possessing a firearm at the time of committing an offence and grievous bodily harm with intent on July 6 - the first day of his trial.



His 23-year-old brother, of Crowther Road, South Norwood, admitted handling the proceedings of the robbery and was handed a 40-month prison term, police said.



Detective Inspector Neil Williams of the Metropolitan Police hailed the courage shown by Costco employees.



"I am pleased with today's sentences and pleased that a dangerous criminal will be spending a substantial amount of time away from the public," he said.



"This incident could have easily turned into a murder inquiry and whilst we always encourage people to dial 999 in an emergency, I applaud the bravery of staff in Costco who intervened on that day and helped to give first aid.



"Inquiries to trace the three outstanding suspects and various items of jewellery continue and I am appealing to anyone who may have information that could help us to contact the police and ensure that all of the violent individuals involved in the robbery are brought to justice."



Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 020 7407 6319 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.