Liverpool shop raider armed with Lenor fabric conditioner foiled

Image caption,
Freeman's choice of Lenor Unstoppables in the foiled robbery was unfortunate

A shopworker fought off a would-be robber after realising his "weapon" was a bottle of fabric conditioner, a court heard.

David Freeman, 35, tried to steal cash from the till at McColl's on West Derby Road on 20 December.

But his attempt to threaten the shop assistant backfired when Patrick Walsh saw that he was wielding a bottle of Lenor, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

He was jailed for 12 months for assault with intent to rob and common assault.

Prosecutor Michael Stephenson told the court that Freeman, of Windsor Road, Tuebrook had produced "an item that he had in his pocket or behind his back with the intention of intimidating him".

"He failed in the sense that Mr Walsh quickly identified it was a bottle of Lenor Unstoppables fabric conditioner and not an intimidating item at all," Mr Stephenson added.

'Impulse decision'

The court was told Freeman had lunged at the till when the assistant opened it after Freeman had bought cigarette papers.

He tried to lift up the lid and Mr Walsh struggled to close it and, after Freeman's left hand became trapped in the till, he swung a punch at the assistant.

The convenience store's manager, Gary Jones, then appeared and - with the help of a security guard - managed to tackle Freeman.

Freeman tried to bite him during the struggle and kicked him to the lower back, the court heard.

When later interviewed by police he said "it was an impulse decision to commit a theft and accepted throwing a punch once his hand was caught".

Kate Morley, defending, said that the defendant, who has numerous previous convictions, including 25 for theft, had been on strong medication at the time of the incident on 20 December.

"His primary intention was to steal but it went to another level. It was not a particularly intimidating item," she said.

"He is sorry, he did not intent it to descend into a form of violence."

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