A have-a-go hero shopkeeper told today how he managed to chase off a gun-wielding robber from his store – with a HOCKEY STICK.
Brave Subramaniam Lingarooban, 31, was sitting in his shop on October 19 when thug Matthew Ashby, 21, burst in demanding cash.
Ashby pointed a gun directly at Mr Lingarooban’s face and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t empty the till.
But hockey fan Mr Lingarooban grabbed the piece of sporting equipment from behind the counter and used it to swat the would-be robber away.
Ashby then fled from the store in Coventry, West Mids.,empty-handed but was later arrested because Mr Lingarooban recognised him as a regular customer.
On Monday Ashby was jailed for three years at Leamington Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
Judge Robert Orme said: “I think Mr Lingarooban ought to be commended for his courage. I would ask for that to be conveyed to him.”
Yesterday Mr Lingarooban – who runs AS Binley News and Wine – said he had reacted with instinct and would do the same again to protect his business.
He said: “I tried to fight the man with the gun without thinking really.
“Straight after the incident I started to worry about what happened. I thought if it was a real gun I could have been shot, and I thought he might come back and shoot me.
“This is the third time I have been robbed in my store, but it is the first time a gun has been used.
“We are very fed up at the moment because it keeps on happening. We close the shop now at 10pm instead of 11pm and we always have two people working in case this happens again.
“I was very scared but this is my life and we are going to keep going.”
Prosecutor Mark Phillips said Mr Lingarooban was sitting behind the counter when Ashby walked in with a dark-coloured handkerchief or scarf over his lower face and pointed a gun straight at him.
He said: “Despite his attempted disguise, Mr Lingarooban recognised him as having been in the shop before.
“Believing the gun was real and that he would be shot, Mr Lingarooban went on the attack and came round from behind the counter, brandishing the hockey stick in the air.
“At that Ashby, who had been captured by a CCTV camera, turned on his heels and ran from the shop.”
Tom Walking, defending, asked the judge to make the sentences for the offences concurrent, pointing out that Ashby had ‘limited previous convictions as a teenager,’
He added: “This is very much behaviour which was out of character.”