Falkirk shopgirl’s terror ordeal

The Tower Shop.
The Tower Shop.

A brave young shop assistant has spoken of the terror attack on her family store.

Lynsey-Anne Stirling was working alone when two masked thugs walked in brandishing pieces of wood and demanding cash.

They stole money and cigarettes after threatening the teenager.

As they made their getaway, one told her: “It’s just a bit of fun.”

Lynsey-Anne (19) has been left traumatised by the events of September 10 last year, the High Court in Edinburgh heard on Friday.

She has been having flashbacks and is too afraid to work alone in the shop at the foot of Paterson Tower in Seaton Place, Falkirk, next to Callendar Park.

Speaking to The Falkirk Herald, Lynsey-Anne recalled her ordeal: “I saw them out of the corner of my eye and thought at first it was veils over their faces. When they came in they had what looked like wooden bats with them and I thought it was a joke.

“But when I realised it was serious, I just froze.”

Nathaniel Newlove (19), of Cultenhove Crescent, Grangemouth, and Charles Pluck (20), of Drip Road, Stirling, both had t-shirts wrapped round their heads.

Pluck began striking the shop counter and cash register with the wood and pointed it at Lynsey-Anne.

She added: “I had my hands over the till, but it opened and he took it.”

Meanwhile, Newlove walked round the counter and took cigarettes from the display, putting them into a carrier bag.

As they fled, Pluck told the terrified girl: “Sorry doll, nothing against you, it’s just a bit of fun.”

Lynsey-Anne said: “It was probably over in a few minutes but it felt like forever. When they left it took me five minutes to realise what had happened and I phoned my mum.”

Suzanne Stirling (40) was in Bainsford when she got the call. She said: “When she began screaming down the phone I knew it was serious. I drove straight there and when I walked in found her curled up on the floor.

“I dialled 999 and was still on the phone when I heard the first police sirens. Lynsey-Anne was hyperventilating.”

After being interviewed, the teenager was taken to Falkirk Community Hospital where she was found to be in shock and given a sedative.

The cash drawer was found in Callendar Park by a dog walker.

The pair had been captured on CCTV before and after the incident and Pluck was quickly picked up by police in Newmarket Street.

He told officers he got involved to help Newlove because he needed money to pay off a debt.

The pair admitted assaulting the girl and robbing her of £462 and 30 packets of cigarettes.

Lynsey-Anne said the ordeal had left her frightened to be alone and very cautious whenever in crowds or with strangers.”

She added: “It’s like a dream. I can’t believe it happened.”

Her mum said: “She’s a totally changed girl. She used to be bubbly and full of life. But now she has terrible mood swings and panic attacks.

“We’ve had great support from all the customers who come into the shop and would like to thank them.”

The pair are due to be sentenced by judge, Lady Smith, on September 28 and remain in custody.

While on remand, Pluck was himself the victim of an assault. Turn to page three for the story.