A THUG who attacked a Hall Green shopkeeper with pepper spray, while wearing a babygro over his head, has been jailed.
Aaron Hill ‘almost immediately’ sprayed Festus Williams in the face with the chemical after entering Cole Valley News on August 17 last year, accompanied by two accomplices, Birmingham Crown Court heard. Raj Punia, prosecuting, said the yobs, who had their hands and faces covered, then jumped over into the till area and began loading cigarettes into a bag.
The incident was witnessed by Mr Williams’ distressed two-year-old son and wife Xiaolan Wong who tried to push the robbers away.
Mrs Wong managed to pull off the babygro which concealed Hill’s face but was struck in the face before the men left with their haul, Miss Punia added.
Police were later able to track down Hill by his saliva, left on the discarded garment.
Judge James Burbidge QC said the couple’s Hall Green store had been robbed just ten days before the attack.
“They are so concerned that they are now contemplating selling this business, their livelihood,” he said.
“That is a direct result of your actions.”
Hill, 24, of Meadway, Stechford, who previously admitted robbery, was jailed for two years and eight months.
Gerry Bermingham, defending, said Hill, who owed a £1,000 drug debt as a result of cannabis and cocaine addiction, had been recruited shortly before the raid and that his role had just been to grab the cigarettes.