29/04/2022

Man Pleads Guilty To Being Getaway Driver In North Belfast Robberies

A 39-year-old man has been sentenced to seven and half years after pleading guilty to being involved as a getaway driver in two robberies.

Ross Thompson will serve three years and nine months in custody, with the remaining three years and nine months on licence.

Detectives from the PSNI's Criminal Investigation Department have welcomed the sentence handed down to Mr Thompson at Belfast Crown Court today, 28 April 2022.

Detective Chief Inspector Kerry Brennan said: "This is the result of investigations into two robberies that took place in north Belfast in 2019.

"The first robbery was at a Chinese wholesale supermarket in the Duncrue Street area of the city on 9 August 2019. Here, three masked men entered the property, armed with a hatchet and bolt-cutter, while another man waited outside. During the ordeal, a female member of staff was grabbed by the throat and ordered to open the safe and till. The men then made off with a substantial sum of money.
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"The second robbery took place the following month, on Friday 20 September, in the Downview Gardens area. Again, it involved three masked men, who forced their way into a house. A woman, who was at home with her two young sons, was pushed to the floor and a kettle was actually boiled with threats made to pour the boiling water over her. In response to demands, the victim subsequently handed over a sum of money.

"These were two horrific ordeals, which left both female victims traumatised.

"In respect of the latter, this nightmarish threat was carried out in the presence of two little boys. It was cowardly and despicable.

"Everyone has a right to feel safe in their own homes and places of work. I am quite sure that, for all involved, both incidents will never be forgotten. I can only hope that today's sentencing sends out a very clear message to anyone who thinks that they can get away with such despicable acts. We will work tirelessly to keep people safe and to bring offenders before the courts."

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