A 39-year-old man is facing a substantial prison sentence after a jury found him guilty today (Friday) of being involved in two terrifying robberies at jewellery shops in Brighouse and Halifax.
In June last year William Cochrane and an accomplice robbed staff at the Kingston Jewellers in Halifax at gunpoint and two days later the pair, along with a third man, snatched jewellery from the window of Neimantas Jewellers in Brighouse after the shop had been ram-raided using a Jaguar car.
Cochrane, of West Parade, Halifax, had denied being involved either of the robberies, but after more than five hours of deliberation a jury at Bradford Crown Court found him guilty on charges of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
At the start of his trial earlier this week the jury were shown CCTV footage of the two terrifying raids last summer.
During the first attack at lunchtime on June 28 two female members of staff had a “handgun” pointed at them and were forced to get on the floor before glass display cabinets were smashed and various items of jewellery were stolen from Kingston Jewellers in Old Market.
Two days later a Jaguar car was deliberately reversed into the window display at Neimantas Jewellers on Commercial Street and two of the raiders were able to grab watches and jewellery before the vehicle was driven away.
The prosecution alleged that Cochrane went into Kingston Jewellers with an accomplice who pointed the handgun at store manager Karen Smith and her colleague Sharon Ingram and told them to get on the floor.
In a statement read to the jury Sharon Ingram described how she felt “petrified” as the gun was pointed right in her face and the robber screamed at her.
She said glass was flying everywhere as the display cabinets were smashed and she thought she was going to die.
In her statement Karen Smith also described how the gun was pointed in her face as she was told:”Get down on the floor and you won’t get hurt.”
The jury heard that three men were involved in the second robbery at Neimantas Jewellers and the prosecution alleged that Cochrane was the driver of the Jaguar car which was deliberately reversed into the window display at around closing time on June 30.
In a statement read to the jury Philip Gould said he immediately pressed the panic alarm and could see two men grabbing items from the shop.
He estimated that the raid lasted about two or three minutes and said he was left feeling scared and nervous.
He said the attack had also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to his shop.
Cochrane was told by Judge Colin Burn that he would have to be sentenced alongside his two co-accused who had already admitted their roles in the robberies.
The judge remanded Cochrane back into custody and it is expected that all there men will be brought to the crown court next Friday for their sentencing hearing.