Louis Crosby launched the raid within an hour of finding out he had been conned (Pictures: North News)
A groom-to-be who tried to hold up a corner shop minutes after losing all the wedding money in a crypto scam has been spared jail.
Louis Crosby, 25, from Sunderland, ‘naively’ converted his savings into a digital cash investment and ended up losing the lot.
Within an hour of discovering he had been conned, he walked into a nearby Premier store armed with an air pistol and told the cashier: ‘Give me the money, I have a gun.’
Newcastle Crown Court heard the owner and an employee put up an ‘astonishing’ fight, knocking the weapon out of Crosby’s hand and restraining him until police arrived.
The raid was foiled when the workers rushed Crosby and knocked the weapon from his hand (Picture: North News & Pictures)
Crosby, who had never been in trouble before, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possessing a firearm at the time of committing an offence.
Judge Julie Clemitson handed him a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, after saying the cryptocurrency ‘disaster’ plunged him into a mental ‘crisis’.
The court was told Crosby entered the shop with his hood up and face covered with sunglasses and a scarf shortly before 11pm on November 27 last year.
Proscutor Neil Pallister said: ‘The defendant approached the counter and the complainant saw a gun pointing towards him, through the gap at the bottom of the perspex screen.
‘The defendant said, “give me the money, I have a gun”.’
Crosby was handed a suspended sentence (Picture: North News & Pictures)
The court heard instead of cowering away, the brave shop worker walked towards the armed raider, despite the gun still being pointed at him. And when the shop owner heard the commotion, he pressed the panic alarm before stepping in to help.
Mr Pallister said the shop owner picked up a broken broom handle to use in self-defence because he ‘feared for his life’. The shop worker then grabbed at the gun and pointed it away from himself managing to knock it out of Crosby’s hand.
He added: ‘The defendant tried to escape; however they were able to detain him until the police arrived.’ When Crosby was arrested, he claimed, ‘it was a joke’.
The court heard Crosby is an undergraduate student who was due to marry a Singaporean national, who he met on the internet.
Nicholas Lane, defending, said he sponsors a child in Mali and does charitable work with the Islamic Community at Sunderland University after converting to the faith.
He added: ‘The explanation for why he came to offend in this way is he had somewhat naively invested his savings he needed for a wedding dowry and for his rent into cryptocurrency and he himself had been scammed, a victim of crime.
‘In clearly a moment when he wasn’t thinking straight, he took up an air pistol, which he had bought off the internet, and committed this offence.’
Crosby in disguise (Picture: North News & Pictures)
The court heard Crosby remains engaged, although the first wedding was cancelled due to Covid, and the second wedding was cancelled due to the current offence.
Judge Clemitson said she had read testimonials to Crosby’s ordinarily positive character and generosity and said she accepted his ‘shame and remorse’ were genuine.
The judge said a doctor who assessed Crosby, who has a history of mental health problems, assessed the offence was an ‘impulsive act in response to the loss of all of your savings’.
Judge Clemitson added: ‘It is apparent, within an extremely short period of time, within an hour, you made the decision to commit this offence.
‘You must have been in a state of crisis to have acted in such a desperate manner, with thoughts swinging from taking your own life to committing financial crime to get yourself out of the situation.’
She said he must have been in a state of ‘mental turmoil’ at the time of the offence, triggered by being a victim of crime and losing the money he had worked hard to save while also working nights.
Crosby was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation requirement and abide by a 12-month curfew.
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