Violent robbers jailed for attack on Bo’ness shopkeeper

Two violent robbers who slashed a shopkeeper and terrorised children during an armed raid were jailed for a total of eight and a half years.

Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 3:55 pm
The High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh.

Sam Moore and Kevin Doyle wounded Ahsen Zafar with a knife and hit him with the baseball bat he had used to try to defend himself with during the attack last December.

Drink and drug fuelled Moore (29) helped himself to a haul of alcohol during the robbery at a shop in Bo’ness, but dropped most of the bottles which smashed when he got outside. Moore and Doyle (34) were caught on camera carrying out the raid at the Premier Store, in Grangepans, and footage of their crime was earlier shown to a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Lord Burns told Moore that the offence was aggravated by the use of a knife which he must have taken with him.

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The judge said: “The initial stages of this, as you must have known, were carried out in the presence of two young children both of whom were terrified at this event.”

Lord Burns said Mr Zafar had put up “courageous resistance” but was left scarred. The lone worker sustained a five inch cut to the palm of his left hand which was closed with 13 stitches. The judge told Moore: “I accept, with the benefit of hindsight, you are remorseful for your actions, but your record shows you are capable of violence.”

Lord Burns said that while Moore claimed to have little recollection of the crime he must have formed a plan to carry out the robbery, as he had armed himself.

On Tuesday, the judge jailed Moore for four years and two months and ordered he be kept under supervision for a further two years to try to reduce the risk he poses to the public. He sentenced Doyle to four years and four months imprisonment and ordered that he be supervised and monitored for a further three years.

Lord Burns told Doyle: “You have a significant record for crimes of violence which goes back to 2003.”

The judge said: “You, along with your co-accused, pled guilty at an early stage to this assault and robbery. You took a lesser role, I accept, but you embarked on this enterprise knowing that violence was inevitable.”

The pair earlier admitted that while acting together they assaulted Mr Zafar and repeatedly tried to stab him on the head and body, slashed his hand, struck him with a baseball bat and chased him from the shop at knifepoint to his injury and permanent disfigurement and robbed him of drink on December 28 last year.

Moore had been freed under two earlier bail orders granted at Falkirk Sheriff Court at the time of the offence.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson QC said at the time of the raid two boys, aged 10 and 11, were in the shop buying soft drinks when the robbers entered. Moore pushed the youngsters out of the way.

The prosecutor said: “Both boys have since expressed the terror they felt at what they were witnessing. They were, however, able to run out of the shop.”

Moore climbed on the counter and Mr Zafar tried to push him back, but the raider began to lunge at him with a knife.

The shopworker picked up a bat and Moore jumped over the counter and went towards him with the knife.

Miss Farquharson said: “Moore repeatedly lunged towards the shopkeeper. Mr Zafar successfully deflected a number of attempted blows by grabbing Moore’s arm.”

Moore managed to disarm the victim and passed the bat to Doyle. Mr Zafar managed to push his way out from behind the counter but was hit by Doyle on the back of the head and his back with the baseball bat.

He ran outside and tried to hold the shop door closed on his pursuers, but was overpowered. The robbers left the premises but Moore immediately went back in and helped himself to eight bottles of drink, including Buckfast tonic wine, vodka and rose wine.

Miss Farquharson said: “He selected a number of bottles of alcohol and then left. He dropped most of the bottles when he got outside, causing their glass to smash.”

When police arrived they arrested Doyle in Cowdenhill Road, in Bo’ness, and detained Moore in a nearby house.

Defence counsel David Moggach said Moore was a regular customer at the shop and made no attempt to disguise himself during the robbery.

Mr Moggach told the court: “As robberies go it must be one of the most inept and ham-fisted.” He said Moore told him: “It is beyond stupid. I can’t believe I did it.”

The defence counsel said that Moore, who works as a labourer in the building industry, had been on a five day bender consuming drink and drugs.

Wendy Hay, counsel for Doyle, said: “He has expressed significant remorse for all those involved and particularly the two boys who were in the shop at the time.”

Moore and Doyle followed the sentencing proceedings via video link to Low Moss prison where they have been held on remand.