Judge praises courage of Blackburn shopkeeper hit over the head with wine bottle (From Blackburn Citizen)
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Judge praises courage of Blackburn shopkeeper hit over the head with wine bottle
Updated 4:27pm Friday 21st March 2014 in News
A SHOPKEEPER who was battered over the head with a wine bottle during a raid has been praised by a judge for his bravery.
CCTV images showed how Mohammed Handra managed to stop the robber lifting the till from the Mini Market, in Blackburn, by rugby-tackling him and bundling him outside.
Recorder Mark Ford said it was to Mr Handra’s ‘enormous credit’ that he succeeded in foiling attacker Brendan Webster’s attempts, despite suffering suspected concussion.
Webster, 22, of no fixed abode, has since admitted robbery and was sentenced to two years and three months in jail yesterday.
Sitting at Preston Crown Court, Recorder Mark Ford, said it must have been an extremely upsetting experience for the victim.
He said Mr Handra had acted ‘courageously’ by trying to prevent Webster taking the till.
Recorder Ford said: “If you strike someone with a glass bottle you can so very easily cause serious injury.”
Mr Handra was working alone at the Wensley Road store in October when the defendant, who was wearing a scarf and hood to disguise his face, came in and put five bottles on the counter.
When the worker asked for his ID Webster picked up a bottle and hit him over the head with it.
Mr Handra managed to snatch the bottle, but the defendant picked up a large bottle of Lambrini and began attacking him again.
Webster went on to try and lift the till with both hands. Mr Handra was able to get hold of him and get him to the door and take him outside, where Webster ran off.
Father-of-two Mr Handra, who went to a nearby hotel for help, was said to have feared for his life during the incident. His glasses were broken.
The court heard that he now suffers from depression and anxiety.
After the hearing Mr Handra’s work colleague Rehman Danish said he thought his friend was ‘a hero’.
He said: “I think he was really brave and he did a really good job.
“He is back working now. I think he is a hero.”
Mr Handra, who also works as a care assistant at Mapleford Nursing Home in Huncoat, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “He grabbed a very heavy bottle of Lambrini which would have knocked me out had he struck me with it.
“I didn’t want him to get away with anything so tried my best and fortunately I managed to get him out of the shop empty handed.
“Once everything sunk in I was very shocked and scared because I had been on my own so anything could have happened.”
Amanda Johnson, defending at the hearing yesterday, said it seemed her client lost his temper when asked for ID.
She said: "This was not a pre-planned offence, but something which arose on the spur-of-the-moment.
"He was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time. He doesn't remember a lot about the evening in that condition.
"He is extremely remorseful. He was appalled when he watched the footage of what had taken place. He has not used drugs since.”
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