‘Terrifying’ robber handed eight years for series of attacks

Stuart Cheetham
Stuart Cheetham

A Chorley woman and her 15-year-old son were left ‘traumatised’ after a hooded man threatened to stab them outside a bank.

Stuart Cheetham, 33, was jailed for eight years for the ‘terrifying’ attack outside Lloyds TSB on Market Street on March 1.

Cheetham was also sentenced for another robbery on the same night, and a further knife-point attack just eight days later.

Lancaster Crown Court heard at around 6.30pm, Cheetham approached the nurse and her son outside Lloyds Bank.

As she was using the cash machine, the victim noticed a man with his hood up and a scarf covering his face standing close to her.

Prosecuting, Andrew Creswell QC said: “The defendant said to her ‘give me the cash’.

“She replied no, and the defendant then said ‘draw out £100, draw out the money or I will stab you.”

When the woman said she didn’t have the money, Cheetham grabbed her purse and her bank card and ran.

Her son was left ‘traumatised’ by the incident.

Mr Creswell, said: “Her son has found it very difficult to come to terms with. When this occurred, he was traumatised to the extent an ambulance was called.

“He last lost his confidence and the victim is extremely angry that Cheetham has taken away independence from her son.”

Moments after the attack, Cheetham approached another man, who had just used the cash machine outside Halifax and was walking across a car park on Lennon Street.

He heard a man shout ‘don’t run’ and as he turned around, he saw Cheetham with a knife in his hand.

Mr Creswell said: “The defendant then got in front of the man and blocked his path. He then said ‘give me the cash, give me £50, I’ve seen you draw cash out’.

“He then said ‘I’m going to pop you’ and thrust the knife at him.”

Cheetham them punched the man in the face, causing him to black out.

When he came round, Cheetham was standing over him with a knife, and continued to demand cash.

The victim gave him his bank card, and he fled.

Eight days later, on March 9, Cheetham used a knife with a five-inch blade to threaten a terrified member of staff at Aldi on Blackpool Road, Preston.

The court heard how Cheetham had also been sentenced to six years for two robberies in 2002 and, after walking out of Kirkham Prison in 2005, went on to carry out a further three.

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Arthur Noble said he would serve an indeterminate sentence for public protection and he would spend at least four years in prison before he is considered for release.

Judge Noble said: “The trauma that this woman and her son must have gone through near that cash machine is extremely serious.

“In the next robbery involving the male victim, what has taken place must have been even to him terrifying on a dark car park when you had a knife in your hand and you demanded cash from him.

“You then committed yet another robbery at a till.”

“Certainly grave threats were made to each of your victims.”

Det Insp Paul Rudd said: “This was terrifying ordeal for the victims concerned. They were very serious offences that could have resulted in someone being seriously injured.”