Couple's carjack knife terror: pensioner slams sentence for armed thug who dragged him out of vehicle (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Couple's carjack knife terror: pensioner slams sentence for armed thug who dragged him out of vehicle
A PENSIONER has told how he and his friends were threatened in their car at knifepoint.
Roger Young was in Bournemouth with his wife Alexandra and friends John and Yvonne Read when Stuart Johnston approached them in their car at Turbary Retail Park in West Howe.
After opening a door, threatening the four pensioners with a 10-inch blade and demanding money, Johnston, 35, pulled Mr Read out of the driver’s seat of the car, got in and attempted to pull away.
He was forced to flee when have-a-go hero Khilid Banani intervened.
Johnston has pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and threatening with a knife. He was sentenced to four years in prison, of which he is expected to serve two, by Judge Samuel Wiggs at Bournemouth Crown Court.
The judge also imposed a four-year extension, meaning Johnston, of no fixed abode, will be under licence for six years.
The incident on May 21 occurred just days after Johnston was released from prison.
He has a record of 23 previous offences including wounding with intent in 1997, affray in 2001, robbery in 2007 and possessing a blade last year.
Mr Young, 67, who was on holiday with his wife and friends, slammed the sentence.
He said: “We were expecting him to get about seven years, it is a shock to know that he will be back out on the streets after two. We were already disappointed with the Crown Prosecution Service because he got in the car and drove it off, with my wife in the back, that wasn’t just an attempted robbery.”
In mitigation, Charles Gabb said Johnston had received various certificates for his achievements in work programmes while in custody.
Judge Wiggs said: “You don’t need me to tell you what a frightening experience this was for Mr and Mrs Read and Mr and Mrs Young.
“I take the view that there is a significant risk to the public of serious harm from you committing offences in future, notwithstanding the attempt you are making to turn your life around.”
Johnston, whose sentence was reduced from six years for his guilty plea, was also given a concurrent 12-month sentence for threatening with a knife and was ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
‘Is it worth your life?’
VICTIM Roger Young said the incident had left him and his friends, who are all from Kent, wary in public and unwilling to return to Bournemouth, which was once a favourite holiday destination.
“It was very frightening, particularly for my wife who was the first person he threatened with the knife in her face,” he said. “She was able to push him away, but she got bruises on her arms.
“He nearly reversed over Mrs Read, he was only stopped by the car cutting out. I was sat next to him knocking the gear stick into neutral and he said, ‘Is it worth your life’.
“I think he probably thought we were an easy target, but he got a bit more than he bargained for.”
Fern Russell, for the Crown, said Johnston was lucky the Volkswagen Tiguan switched the engine off when a seatbelt was undone, or he would have faced more severe charges.
‘It was very dangerous’
VAN-driver Khilid Banani was the have-a-go hero who pulled Johnston from the car before tackling him to the ground and chasing him away.
Mr Banani, who spoke to the Daily Echo shortly after the incident, said: “I saw the guy threatening them with a knife, then he got in the car and tried to reverse it and a woman ran out saying, ‘Please help us’.
“I ran over to try and catch the guy as he was waving the knife around and it was very dangerous for those people. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was like a film.”
After checking if the victims were ok, Mr Banani then took police to Johnston’s location.
Officers found the defendant hiding in gardens in the Moorside Road area and deployed a taser to bring him down.
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