A debt-ridden drug addict who robbed a teenage shop assistant after telling her he had gun has been jailed for a total of four years.
Elland man Robert Ekis, 40, tried to disguise himself by pulling down his hat before he went into the Magazine World newsagents on Commercial Street, Halifax, but a judge today (Fri) described his crime as “ham-fisted” after he was caught on CCTV and left his fingerprints on drinks cup at the scene.
Ekis, who has an extensive criminal record, robbed 19-year-old Kate Norman as she was about to close up the newsagents on the evening of January 19.
Bradford Crown Court heard that Ekis’ latest offence was committed exactly a week after he had been given a suspended prison sentence of 19 months and the day after he had been released from police custody over an unspecified matter.
Prosecutor Andrew Horton said after Ekis went into the shop he told the assistant:”I have a gun in my pocket. If you empty the till I won’t use it, but if you don’t I will.”
Although the assistant did not see anything which looked like a gun she still believed he had a weapon with him and felt shocked and scared.
Ekis got away with between £300 and £400 in cash and today he read out his own apology for what he done.
Speaking over a video link to HMP Leeds Ekis, of Langdale Street, Elland, said he was sincerely sorry for the robbery which he committed because of severe debt problems and threats from other people.
He apologised for all the mess he had caused and said he hoped that the complainant had been able to return to work without any long-lasting effects from his actions.
Ekis pleaded guilty to the robbery charge at his first crown court hearing last month and today the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC sentenced him to 29 months in jail for the offence.
The judge also imposed the extra 19 months in prison from the suspended sentence handed out a week before the robbery.
Barrister Ken Green, for Ekis, said his client had had mental health difficulties as well as a long-standing Class A drug problem.
Mr Green said Ekis was very well known to almost every police officer in Halifax and the robbery was “unplanned, opportunistic and doomed to failure”.
After Judge Thomas imposed the four-year jail term on Ekis the defendant responded:”I think I deserve all I get.”