Clacton raid: Man jailed for armed robbery attempt

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Media captionMan puts gun 'inch' from shopkeeper's face

A man who brandished an imitation gun an "inch from a shopkeeper's face" has been jailed for four and a half years.

Scott Cotier, 22, demanded Jonathan Dunkin, 68, empty the till of the 7 two 11 in Clacton, Essex, on 7 January.

But the "courageous" shop owner batted away the weapon and hid behind the till. Cotier fled empty-handed.

Sentencing him at Chelmsford Crown Court, Judge Emma Peters said Cotier had threatened violence in a "very serious way".

Mr Dunkin, a grandfather of five who has run the store for 25 years, told the court he had been unable to sleep properly since the raid.

Cotier admitted attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent.

His solicitor Folashade Abiodun claimed Cotier had fallen in with a "bad crowd".

Image caption Jonathan Dunkin said he is threatened "once a week" at his shop

Judge Peters said: "Let's be clear: the main reason that the robbery was not completed was Mr Dunkin's courage and not your change of mind."

Mr Dunkin said robbery had become part of his life and that he faced threats "at least once a week".

He asked Cotier to imagine watching CCTV footage of his mother being robbed at gunpoint.

He said: "You are by no means the only one to have a difficult childhood; the trick is not to let it ruin your adult life."

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