A would-be robber who was marched from a Fife convenience store at the point of his own “gun” has been warned further offending could see him stay in jail for the rest of his life.
Kieran Pearson was jailed for more than five years at the High Court in Edinburgh after admitting to carrying out the botched robbery in Dunfermline last year.
His bid to hold up staff at the Spar store in the town’s Townhill Road backfired when owner Zaheer Uddin Babar grabbed the weapon and turned it on him.
The 28-year-old escaped and police later discovered the gun was fake but found other items in Pearson’s home implicating him in the attempted robbery.
The High Court in Edinburgh previously heard Pearson was still on licence from a 2014 conviction for assault and robbery when he targeted Mr Babar’s store on August 15.
Several months after the attempted robbery, on December 21, Pearson was involved in another, with co-accused, Army veteran Craig Pritchard.
This time the pair targeted a petrol station on Bothwell Street in Dunfermline.
The shopkeeper, Yedduri Sudheer, was trapped inside with the pair as they tried to force open the till.
After being threatened with a knife and a claw hammer, Mr Sudheer was able to flee into the street, where he flagged down a passing car.
The pair made off with hundreds of pounds from the till, while Pearson filled his rucksack with tobacco.
Struggle to be released
On Wednesday at Edinburgh’s High Court Pearson was jailed for 64 months, while Pritchard was imprisoned for four years.
Both will be on licence for a further two years.
Judge Lord Macfadyen warned the pair they faced indeterminate sentences if convicted of any further offences.
He said: “These were very serious and unpleasant offences. In your case, Kieran John Douglas Pearson involving two charges, the first involving an imitation handgun.
“In the second instance you subjected filling station staff to very disturbing behaviour.
“Clearly you both present a significant risk to the public.
“If you carry on on your current criminal path you put yourself at risk of an indeterminate sentence.
“If you do receive and indeterminate sentence you may struggle to be released.”
Hit by girlfriend’s death
Last month Pearson admitted assaulting Mr Babar with the intent to rob him and assaulting Mr Sudheer and robbing him at the BP garage on the town’s Bothwell Street on December 21.
Craig Pritchard, 42, also pled guilty to the second of the charges.
Defence solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, for Pearson, said his client had taken to using drugs again following the death of his partner and ran up debt.
He said: “Mr Pearson accepts that a custodial sentence is inevitable given his record and the nature of these offences.
“After his release from his last custodial sentence he was in a relationship with his long-term girlfriend.
“She suffered from ill-health and he was present when she died last year.
“After her death he began taking drugs again. He built up a drug debt.
“Its against that background that the incident on August 15 took place.”
He said that Pearson had “got his act together” and was employed for a time by Amazon but his habit “caught up with him”, resulting in him taking part in the second robbery.
‘Theatre of war’
Michael Anderson, defence counsel for Pritchard said he was “disgusted and ashamed” by his behaviour which took place when he had been using valium.
Mr Anderson said Pritchard had previously served his country in the forces and now suffered PTSD.
He said: “He served his country for five years and was in a properly stressful theatre of war.
“He was subject to a conviction in London which was appealed successfully, which has left its mark.
“He did not come out of his service to his country without damage.
“He is someone who has tried to deal with the various demons that have dogged him.
“They are not of his making but he needs to deal with that.”
Reacting to the sentence, Mr Babar said he felt that Pearson should have received a harsher sentence.
He said: “He should have got a lot more as there were two charges against him.”
Detective Inspector Karen Muirhead, of Dunfermline Police Station, said: “It is fortunate that no one was seriously injured during these incidents but in both cases staff were threatened and left extremely shaken by what happened.
“There is no place for this kind of violence in our society. I would like to commend the bravery of the people who were threatened with weapons during these incidents.”
“I would also like to thank the local communities for their assistance in our investigations of both incidents.
“This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and we will continue to do everything that we can to bring those responsible for such crimes before the court.”