Knifepoint robber gave victim a fiver to go to the pub

Keith Lee
Keith Lee

A man has been jailed after he carried out two knifepoint robberies in Pontefract in 24 hours, the second on a nurse on her way to work in a hospice.

Leeds Crown Court heard Keith Lee struck first on the evening of April 18 when Paul Kemp was walking along a footpath off Mayors Walk, Pontefract, intending to go a pub.

He saw a man approaching and then realised he was holding a large kitchen knife above his head. The male then demanded “Give us your money, your phone, your jewellery and don’t mess about.”

Paul Nicholson prosecuting said Mr Kemp bravely reached up and grabbed at Lee’s wrist holding the knife and there was a scuffle during which the blade cut his hand.

Mr Kemp tried to run off but Lee followed and so he turned to face him with Lee still waving the knife about pointing it about a foot from his stomach.

He told the robber “I was only going for a pint” but Lee repeated “Money, phone, jewellery, don’t look at me”.

At that point Mr Kemp gave him £65 from his wallet showing that was all he had but Lee said he wanted to search him.

He was told there were only some cigarettes in his pocket and after asking to borrow one gave his victim £5 back so he could go to the pub.

Mr Nicholson said Lee’s second robbery was at 7.15am the next morning when Anne Wheatley was going to work at the Prince of Wales hospice in Pontefract. She was in the car park and was wearing her nurse’s uniform when she became aware of a man behind her tugging at her bag.

He told her “don’t make a noise, just give me your bag.” She saw the man was holding a knife with a blade about six inches long and let him have it.

She then went inside and contacted the police.

When Mrs Wheatley showed an officer the scene she noticed a plastic bottle from which the robber had been drinking and Lee’s DNA was later found on it.

Richard Canning representing Lee said he was ashamed of his actions and was remorseful.

At the time he was using drugs and had run out of money to turn the electricity on and under the influence of various substances made stupid decisions.

He was not finding prison easy and had some mental health issues.

Lee, 33 of Beatrice Taylor House, Horsefair, Pontefract admitted both robberies and was jailed for four and a half years.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said he accepted he was remorseful and had acknowledged “the awfulness of what you done” but there had to be a substantial jail term.