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Weymouth man is jailed for 'Aids' syringe attack
A WOULD-BE robber has been jailed for three years after threatening a shopkeeper with a syringe.
Nicholas Smith, 34, of Portland Road, Weymouth, held-up convenience store worker Kili Moorthy with a syringe, threatening to give him Aids, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.
The terrifying early morning incident at the Premier store in Poole High Street on October 29 was captured on CCTV cameras.
The judge praised the shopkeeper as ‘courageous’ after he fought off the offender with a bottle of Toilet Duck bleach.
Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, Anita Gibson-Lee said Mr Moorthy, 24, had been alone in the shop, sorting out the morning papers, when balaclava-clad Smith entered and demanded the takings.
Despite being forced behind the counter, Mr Moorthy grabbed the bottle of domestic cleaning liquid and gave chase.
Ms Gibson-Lee added: “Mr Smith had a syringe in his hand and pointed it towards his victim, saying: ‘I’ve got Aids; do you want it?’”
Mr Moorthy picked up an advertising board outside the shop to fend Smith off.
“During a scuffle Smith ran off but he was traced by DNA found on the needle and arrested on November 8.
Police found clothing similar to that worn during the attempted robbery at his home address.
During interview Smith said he couldn’t remember where he had been on the day of the incident while his terrified victim told police: “I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I don’t want to go back to the shop.”
Ms Gibson-Lee said: “He was very scared because he thought he was going to be attacked by the needle.”
Speaking of his ordeal later, Mr Moorthy told the Daily Echo: “There was no money in the till – it was empty.
“It’s not my job – I was just there to cover for my cousin, so I won’t be going back there for a while.”
In Smith’s defence, the court heard that he had been ‘absolutely mortified’ by the offence and had ‘lost three days’ after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs, heroin and alcohol.
The father-of-one, who admitted attempted robbery, begged Judge John Harrow to allow him to continue receiving help for his habit.
He said: “I’ve had this awful affliction for 14 years; this recent brush with the law is the catalyst for change. Although the punishment for the crime is custodial, I don’t think it is the answer.”
Jailing Smith for three years, Judge Harrow said he was convinced that the robbery would have been carried out ‘if it hadn’t been for the courageous response’ of Mr Moorthy.
He added: “Shopkeepers are vulnerable, that is why people like you pick on them.”