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Gang jailed for armed robbery at Thelwall Post Office
FOUR men who were behind a daylight armed robbery at Thelwall Post Office will spend Christmas behind bars.
Ross Ward and David Williams, from Partington, and Richard McMahon, from Flixton, all denied being involved in the robbery on April 4 this year, but were found guilty at Warrington Crown Court on Monday.
David Harvey, aged 24, from Preston, pleaded guilty on the day of trial.
In the attack, two men wearing balaclavas and brandishing a gun raided the post office, on Barley Road, screaming: “Give me the money.”
See CCTV footage from the post office here...
One female staff member told Warrington Crown Court she feared for her life as the pair stole thousands of pounds in notes and coins.
“I didn’t know what those men were capable of. I just kept thinking of my children and I was so scared I wouldn’t see them again,” she said.
The men escaped the shop with more than £2,500, but failed to get into a safe containing tens of thousands of pounds.
Passers-by saw the men sprint from the shop into a blue BMW parked outside which then tore away, mounting the pavement to avoid an oncoming car.
The BMW, later discovered to be stolen, was found dumped in Booths Lane, Lymm.
There was no DNA or fingerprints on it linking it to the defendents.
A nearby resident saw three men run from it and get into a silver Passat before racing away.
Police traced the Passat to Williams’ address in Partington.
As police arrived, Ward was driving away from the house in another car, but he turned and raced back.
He then tried to jump over Williams’ garden fence before police arrested him.
He had a key to the BMW in his pocket, but said Harvey, from Royal Drive, in Fulwood, had given it to him.
Ward, McMahon and Williams all told the jury they were at Williams’ house when the robbery was taking place.
When searched, Ward, aged 19, from Avens Road in Partington, had bags of £1 coins and £505 in notes on him.
Williams, aged 26, from Forest Gardens in Partington, had £425 in notes, while McMahon, aged 30, from Church Road in Flixton, carried 20p.
There were 189 £1 coins on Williams’ window sill, which he said came from a piggy bank.
The gun used in the robbery has never been found.
Det Con Darren Wright from Warrington CID said: “This is an excellent example of the police and the community working together to bring these dangerous offenders to justice.”
Police believe Ward and Harvey were the two who robbed the post office, while Williams was the driver of the BMW and McMahon the driver of the Passat.
All four, guilty of robbery and possessing a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery, will be sentenced on January 13 at Chester Crown Court and have been remanded in custody until then.
Williams’ defence: Williams told the jury he had been at Partington’s Bargain Booze store buying cigarettes when the robbery was taking place.
CCTV shows him leave the shop in a black Audi TT, which stopped briefly in a lay-by.
The prosecution said he was picking someone up, and that the Audi TT was a fast enough car to have got to Thelwall in the time between his visit to Bargain Booze and the robbery.
But Williams said he rarely drove further than the shop, despite owning a car trading business in Bolton.
He told the court he went home after visiting Bargain Booze.
A Sky TV installation engineer, who was working at Williams’ house that morning, said he saw four men in the house that morning, though he could not be sure of times.
Ward’s defence: Ross Ward said he had been at David Williams’ house all morning on the day of the robbery.
When asked why he had a key to the BMW on him, he said he had been given it by David Harvey, along with the cash that was found on him.
In interview, he told police: “You can’t start naming names, I’d be a grass.”
In court he said: “If Harvey had not pleaded guilty I might never have named him; it depends how much pressure I was under. The last thing I want to be known as is a grass,” Judge Roger Dutton reminded the jury in his summing up.
McMahon’s defence: Richard McMahon also told the court he was at Williams’ house when the robbery took place.
He said Harvey must have left unnoticed and committed the robbery.
“I wasn’t aware of any robbery or that Harvey had been involved in a robbery. I wasn’t involved in it as a robber or a driver,” he said.
“I’m not protecting my own back in this case. I’m not lying to protect myself,” he said.
The part the public played: A driver passing the post office called 999 after the BMW aroused her suspicions.
It was parked sideways across three spaces, and two hooded men were running away from it into the post office.
The two female assistants in the post office gave statements describing the robbery and the men.
One pressed a panic alarm after the men left, alerting the police.
The owner of the deli next door to the post office gave police a description of the BMW driver, and saw two men scramble to get into the car after running from the post office.
The funeral director across Barley Road heard raised voices and women screaming, and called 999.
He described a man carrying a gun, and told the police what direction the car left in, turning towards Stanton Road and Stockport Road.
Two passers-by wrote down the registration plate of the BMW after seeing the men run from the post office.
A motorist saw the BMW driving “exceptionally fast” towards him. The car almost hit him, and had to swerve onto the pavement to avoid a crash.
Another pedestrian saw the BMW almost crash into that car, and described the driver to police.
A dog walker saw the BMW driving down Booths Lane in Lymm, where it was dumped. He later came across it abandoned, after police had found it, and described the driver and passenger.
A woman saw three men run from the direction of the BMW and get into a silver Passat.
Two of them appeared to have something bundled under their tops.
She took down descriptions of them and the registration plate of the Passat and told police.
The owner of a butty van saw four men waiting for a silver Passat to be valeted and later gave descriptions to the police.
See the original video report from warringtonguardian.co.uk, from April...