Wigan serial criminal with 38 previous convictions brought to justice by have-a-go heroes

Barry Simpkin
Barry Simpkin

A desperate robber who has 38 previous convictions was caught after a brave woman clung onto the back of his bicycle as he tried to escape.


Barry Simpkin kicked out a this pursuer - who was not for letting go - and then pedalled off “dragging her along the ground” heading towards an alleyway near the off licence he had just raided.

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Simpkin then got off the bike and ran off and hid exhausted behind a bin but realising he was still being pursued ran away again - but was caught by a member of the public.

The 41-year-old drug addict, of Hey Street, Wigan, was jailed for three years after admitting robbery and possessing a small lock knife, which was found on him when searched by police on arrest.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Simpkin went into The Wine Loft in North Road, St Helens, at 12.40 pm on June 8 and told the owner, Kathryn Owen to open the till.

“He held a screw driver pointed directly at her at chest height and she felt very frightened,” said Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting.

She tried to push him away but he walked past her to the till and started using the screwdriver to prise it open. Mrs Owen bravely hit him several times on the back and tried to pull off the hood of his jacket.

She shouted to alert her brother who was upstairs and Simpkin, who had a craft covering the lower part of his face, stole £95 in notes from the till. He then pushed past her, ran out of the shop and started to ride off on a bicycle.

Mrs Owen shouted to a neighbouring shopkeeper and meanwhile her brother’s partner, Beverley Kavaney, intercepted the robber in an alleyway “and bravely grabbed hold of the bars at the rear of the bike and she was not for letting go,” said Mr Hopkins.

Miss Kavaney suffered a cut left arm and graze to her left knee after being dragged along by Simpkin riding off.

In an impact statement Mrs Owen said that the incident has affected her confidence and she is now wary of being alone in the shop where she has been for 48 years.

Stuart Nolan, defending, said that Simpkin, who appeared in court via video link from prison, has 38 previous convictions but mainly for burglary and shoplifting and none for robbery.

Mr Nolan told the court his client wanted to apologise to his victims for his behaviour which occurred while he was homeless and against a background of drug abuse.

“He hopes to put his time in prison to good use,” said Mr Nolan.