Plastic gun robber stays in jail

A dangerous robber jailed for a minimum of six years after wielding a plastic gun at his victims during two separate attacks has failed to win a cut in his sentence on appeal.

Last August at St Albans Crown Court, Paul John Wakenshaw, 38, of Watford, admitted two counts of robbery and two of having an imitation firearm with intent to commit
robbery.

He struck at Sophia Jewellers, on The Broadway in Stanmore, in December 2008, pressing a gun against a shop assistant's chest while demanding that she opened the safe.

When the woman, a former soldier in the Israeli Defence Force, said she could not operate the safe, he smashed cabinets in the shop and fled with £46,000 worth of jewellery. Only £6,400 worth were recovered.

Two months earlier, he targeted two security officers outside a newsagents in Garston Park Parade, London Colney, forcing them to hand over £8,400.

Wakenshaw, who has previous convictions for theft, burglary, driving while disqualified and causing grievous bodily harm, was jailed indefinitely for public protection after he was deemed to pose a threat of "serious harm" to the public.

He was told he would have to serve at least six years behind bars before he could have a hope of release - and on Friday, Judge David Radford, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Royce at London's Criminal Appeal Court, upheld that term.

The judge said that, even though Wakenshaw's previous convictions were some years earlier, and he had never previously committed a robbery, the sentencing judge was "entitled to come to the view, as he did, that the dangerousness criteria was met".

He said Wakenshaw had previously committed violent offences and dishonesty-related crimes, and his latest offences combined both. The appeal was refused.

    Last updated: 3:07pm, June 3 2010