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‘Have-a-go heroes’ tackled armed robber in Leigh
11:20am Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
THREE people who bravely tackled a robber armed with a hammer have all been rewarded.
James Whittington grabbed a purse from a 78-year-old victim who was waiting at a bus stop in St Helens Road, Leigh.
Liverpool Crown Court heard on Friday that the victim, who feared she was going to have a heart attack, screamed and 38-year-old Whittington ran off with her purse containing £25.
Two women saw him and rang the police and one of them, Nicola Whittaker, chased him and ordered him to give her the purse.
But Whittington produced a hammer so she let him go.
Whittington walked off but motorist David Thomas drove after him and grabbed the robber through his open window, while his wife Rebecca reached over from the passenger seat and disarmed him.
The court was told Whittington handed over the purse and ran away but 24-year-old Mr Thomas followed in his car and his 22-year-old wife and his mother followed on foot.
When Whittington reached his home, Mr Thomas got out and grabbed him, threw him to the ground and restrained him until police arrived, said Harry Pepper, prosecuting.
After jailing Whittington for three years and four months Judge Graham Morrow QC, awarded taxi driver Mr Thomas £250 from public funds and £200 each to his wife, who hurt her hand in the incident, and Ms Whittaker. He said he was doing so to mark their bravery and to encourage others to act in such a positive way.
Whittington, of Carders Close, Leigh, also pleaded guilty to robbing Tickles off-licence in Oak Street, Leigh, of £45 on November 10, theft and possessing an offensive weapon.
Philip Martin, defending, said Whittington had acted out of stupidity after taking a cocktail of heroin, valium and alcohol and was shocked at his behaviour.
He has written letters of apology to his victims.
He committed the offences because he had significant debts.