Drug-crazed knife horror

Liverpool Crown Court

Liverpool Crown Court

A shop worker was viciously stabbed by a robber freed from jail just five days before.

Anthony Sale, who had taken legal highs and alcohol, was armed with a large knife when he walked into Leigh’s Maine off-licence in Chapel Street and went behind the counter.

Assistant Lorraine Simpson recognised Sale who “without warning or saying a word stabbed her in the left shoulder just below her left clavicle,” said Henry Riding, prosecuting.

He said: “If you scream I’m going to kill you” and 66-year-old Ms Simpson feared for her life. “She grabbed the bladed end of the knife and pleaded with him not to stab her again. His demeanour changed and he turned from her and grabbed the till and ran out of the shop with it.”

The victim then went into shock and at hospital required surgery which needed 14 stitches which left a 3ins scar. She also suffered two cuts to her fingers where she had grabbed the blade.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Ms Simpson knew Sale as a customer and had only seen him the day before.

Sale, 37, of no fixed address, admitted robbery, assault and possessing an offensive weapon and also had another robbery and a burglary taken into consideration. He was jailed for five years. Recorder Anthony Long, who said Sale “had a terrible record for burglaries and dishonesty,” imposed a restraining order keeping him away from the off-licence and Ms Simpson.

The court heard that during the raid, owner of the neighbouring barber’s, Amin Hassas, heard a loud bang and on seeing Sale with the till took photos of him on his mobile. He then went into the shop to find the victim on the floor covered in blood and screaming for help.

He went after Sale, videoing him on his phone, and bravely told him to abandon the till but Sale threatened to stab him. Sale went into a back street and Mr Hassas decided not to follow but heard a bang and discovered Sale had thrown the till, still containing £565, into a bin.

Police were later called to Leigh bus station where Sale, who was very unsteady on his feet and apparently wanted them to come for him, was arrested. He told officers he had “done something stupid, robbed the shop” and he told them where he had dumped the knife. He said he had little memory of the incident because he had taken legal highs.

Geoffrey Lowe, defending, said the offence was out of character. “He has no real recollection of what led him to inflict this injury but he was clearly motivated by his desire to obtain some money. He is bewildered and doesn’t understand it.”

The judge praised Mr Hassas for “his brave conduct.”