Shop hammer attacker is jailed

A failed robber attacked a shop worker with a hammer – but was then held by a customer as other bystanders came to the rescue.

Omari Blackburn, 30, of Stratford Road, Thornton Heath, has been jailed after he tried to steal cash from a shop in nearby London Road. The victim, who suffered head wounds in the attack, returned to work at the store just three days later, because there was no one to cover for him.

Omari Blackburn after his arrest

The shopkeeper, the customer who came to his aid and the people passing in the street who held Blackburn have been praised by cops who carried out the investigation.

The bungling criminal was jailed for three years on Friday, November 30 at Croydon Crown Court after pleading guilty on Wednesday, November 21 to attempted robbery, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and having an offensive weapon.

He was jailed for three years for attempted robbery, nine months for assault and six months for possessing an offensive weapon. Each sentence is to run concurrently. The court heard on Sunday, July 29 at about 7.15pm Blackburn entered an off-licence in London Road armed with a hammer that was hidden under his jumper.

He walked behind the counter holding the hammer above his head and threatened the shop worker, a 50-year-old man, demanding he remove money from the till. The shop worker refused and a scuffle took place with Blackburn hitting the victim over the head.

A customer who had been at the back of the store when Blackburn walked in came to the victim’s aid and helped him to remove Blackburn from the shop. Once outside, other members of the public kept Blackburn there until police arrived a few minutes later.

The victim suffered bumps and bruising to his head along with a laceration that required four stitches. Blackburn was charged the following day, on Monday, July 30.

Detective Constable Kathlyn Stanley-Quist, from Croydon CID, said: “It’s just sheer luck that the victim was not seriously injured. “I would like to praise both him and the members of the public who did not look the other way but instead came to the victim’s aid and apprehended Blackburn.

“I am pleased the court has seen fit to give Blackburn a custodial sentence for what was a violent attack.”

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