Robber swam across canal after armed raid on Sowerby Bridge store

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

An armed robber who swam across the canal in Sowerby Bridge after carrying out a terrifying raid on a convenience store has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

A judge was shown dramatic CCTV footage of the attack on JS Food and Wine during which hooded intruder Delano Chevolleau confronted shopkeeper Yashpal Karda and demanded cash from the till.

The 42-year-old, whose lower face was covered, went into the store shortly before closing time on March 1 and held the large kitchen knife above his head as the terrified complainant opened the till before cowering on the floor behind the counter.

Chevolleau, who had previous convictions for burglary and violence dating back to the mid-1980s, calmly pocketed the day’s takings of nearly £400 before running from the store on Clifton Street pursued by Mr Karda and his father, who had been in the stock room.

Today, Bradford Crown Court heard how Mr Karda lost sight of the robber close to the canal and when police later made a search of the area they found marks in a flowerbed at the foot of a wall.

Prosecutor Nadim Bashir told the court that the trail went cold, but when officers crossed to the other side of the canal they found wet footprints leading to a nearby property.

Inquiries revealed that Chevolleau had changed his wet clothing at the house before going to his own home in Canal Road.

When police went to his house they found a stash of stolen coins under a pillow and a quantity of wet banknotes under the bed.

The court heard that Chevolleau had in fact suffered a bad injury to his ankle in jumping from the wall and he had to spend a fortnight in hospital after his arrest.

The day after the robbery local fishermen helped Mr Karda’s father to recover a Chevolleau’s discarded jacket.

Chevolleau pleaded guilty to the robbery charge when he appeared before the court today/yesterday via a video link to HMP Leeds.

His lawyer Rachim Singh said the week before the robbery Chevolleau’s long-term relationship had broken down and he had made two attempts at suicide.

Mr Singh said the robbery was committed so that his client could get money to buy enough heroin for an overdose.

The court heard that Chevolleau was genuinely remorseful and Mr Singh said the defendant had written a letter of apology to the victims.

Mr Singh said Chevolleau had no money for the drugs and in ‘ a moment of complete and utter madness’’ he had committed the robbery.

The court heard that the defendant had had to undergo another operation on his damaged ankle at the weekend.

Jailing Chevolleau Judge Jonathan Rose told him that he shouldn’t expect any sympathy for his self-inflicted injury from either him, Mr Karda or anyone in the community.

‘’It is right of course that you have suffered a very serious injury as a result of coming off that wall...I doubt that you will find many people that have a shred of sympathy for you,’’ said Judge Rose.

Chevolleau disputed claims that he had threatened to stab Mr Karda during the incident, but Judge Rose said whether he said the words or not the victim was clearly flinching as the defendant held the knife.

‘’Shopkeepers, particularly those who work long hours often late into the night, will be protected by the courts when they fall victim to what I regard as a quite terrifying attack by the likes of you,’’ the judge told Chevolleau.

‘’The community depends upon small shops that stay open late at night such as the one that was run by Yashpal Karda and his father.’’

The judge ordered that the £388.25 recovered by the police should be returned to the complainant, but he noted that although it would compensate him financially it would not compensate him for what he had been through that night.