Malmesbury shop assistant threatened with knife
4:41pm Friday 5th October 2012 in News
POLICE are hunting a robber who threatened a Malmesbury woman shop assistant with a knife.
The man fled empty handed when he was challenged by a fellow shopkeeper who heard a terrified scream coming from County Jewellers in the high street just before 10am on Friday.
“As I came in he had the knife against her back,” said the trader, who did not want to be named.
The attacker, who was seen in the town some time before the incident, went into the store and used a marrow to stop the door from shutting before threatening the assistant with the knife.
It is understood he demanded money from the till and became more angry when he discovered there was none.
Her frightened cry alerted her rescuer who ran in and confronted him.
“There was a short rugby type moment where I was crouched towards him, he pushed at me with knife raised and we both fell,” said the ex-army man. “I went back into display cabinet.”
“It was a moment when I thought I was going to die. When I went back I looked him in the eyes and I saw he was making a decision ‘do I stab him or do I run.’ He chose to run.”
Chased outside the shop, the robber mounted a red sports type motorbike and sped off, seen by more witnesses who managed to take down a registration number.
The businessman , who suffered minor cuts and bruising, said: “Everybody who is ex-forces is more likely to respond to a crisis situation, but I think most blokes, if they hear or see a woman being terrorised, would react. I think I just did what anybody would do.”
Owner Julian Middleton was not at the shop when the raid happened, but said the assistant had been badly shaken up.
It is the third time in a matter of months since the shop opened last September that the police have had to be called. Several months ago a thief went in and grabbed rings valued at £500 and in a similar incident last week Mr Middleton’s wallet was snatched from the store.
“Although very unusual in Malmesbury, this was a very traumatic incident for the member of staff in the jewellers,” said Pc Graham McLaughlin.
“From enquiries so far, we believe the bike and rider may have been in the area for some time prior to the attempt robbery.”
He urged anyone who saw the bike to contact police.
Staff at Maison Let a few doors down noticed the man riding slowly up and down the street repeatedly for some time before the raid.
“When he walked up past the window he had a balaclava on under his helmet,” said one. “He just looked menacing.”
It is understood he was also seen in St Aldhelm’s Mead up to an hour before.