A shop worker told today how she feared she had been blinded for life after a masked thug smashed her in the face with a SHOTGUN during a terrifying robbery.
Candice Davies, 20, was working behind the counter at a Co-op store when the gunman stormed in and pointed the weapon inches from her face.
Chilling CCTV footage shows the moment Candice froze on the spot as she stared down the barrel of the sawn-own shotgun, which was concealed in a bag.
Moments later the young cashier was floored by a single blow after the hooded attacker slammed the metal barrel into her face.
Her eye was so swollen and bruised that she couldn’t open it for days and she was convinced she had permanently lost her sight.
The man, whose face was concealed with a scarf, then tried to smash his way into the till at the shop in Lawford Road, Rugby, Warks, before fleeing empty-handed.
Candice, a part-time sales assistant, was alone on the shop floor when the robber entered the shop at around 7.30pm last Wednesday evening.
Speaking for the first time about the shocking attack, she said: “This guy came around the counter and shouted ‘it’s a stick-up’.
“He held this weapon a few inches from my face and just lunged at me – it went straight into my face.
“I hit the floor, I was completely shocked and tried to back into a corner to get away from him.
“He was shouting at me the whole time to open the till and I just shouted back ‘I don’t know how’.
“I managed to hit the panic button but I was scared he would hit me again when I couldn’t get any money out.
“He started trying to force it open but when he couldn’t he left with nothing.
“I had a black eye, it swelled up straight away and was so bad that I thought I was going to be blind.
“As soon as he hit me I couldn’t open it, I tried to open it with my fingers but I couldn’t see anything except big blurry outlines.
“I got to the hospital and had to wait three and a half hours before they gave me some eye drops to ease the pain and sent me home to recover.
“It’s opened up a bit now but it hurts to move my eyeball.
“My eye looks awful.”
Brave Candice gave police permission to release the shocking footage of the incident in the hope her attacker would be caught.
She added: “They need to find this man before he hurts anyone else.
“I didn’t even do anything and he attacked me, it’s scary to think what he would do if someone resisted him.
“I’ve not been back to work yet but I can’t afford not to.
“It’s completely changed my life, even a trip to the supermarket brings back bad memories.
“The tape is about two minutes but it felt like a much longer time – I’ve only watched it once, I can’t bring myself to watch it again.”
Warwickshire Police yesterday appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
A spokesperson said: “At about 19.40hrs a man entered the store in Lawford Road carrying what appeared to be a gun in a bag.
“He hit a member of staff in the face, causing an injury to her eye, and attempted to open the till.
“He was unsuccessful and left empty handed.
“The member of staff was taken to hospital was taken to hospital where she was treated for bruising and swelling to her left eye.
“There were no customers in the shop at the time of the incident.”
The offender is described as a white male with a scarf covering the lower part of his face.
He is thought to be in his 20s, about 5’8 to 5’ 10” tall and slim build.
He was wearing a maroon coloured padded jacket with hood, dark trousers and a dark coloured glove on his left hand.
Police are asking anybody with information to contact DC Gareth Unett on 01926 415000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.