Robber with a limp storms bingo hall and threatens staff with claw hammer while high on heroin and Spice before …
Three men who raided a bingo hall with a claw hammer in a ‘despicable’ drug-fuelled armed robbery have been jailed for a total of more than 11 years.
Josh Starkey, John Kologaras, and Daniel Lee, who have 223 convictions between them, stormed Showcase Bingo in Hull in the early evening after taking a mix of drugs.
The raid saw Starkey, 23, threaten a female member of staff with a ‘fearsome’ claw hammer raised above his head, before demanding money.
The 35-year-old victim was so traumatised she was forced to move home and leave work.
A trio with 223 convictions between them have been jailed for a total of more than 11 years for raiding a bingo hall in Hull. Pictured is Daniel Lee, top, ‘scoping out’ the venue before the raid began by pretending to be selling perfume
Josh Starkey then entered the bingo hall carrying a blue bag, pictured, to begin the robbery
He threatened a female member of staff with a ‘fearsome’ claw hammer, pictured, and stole £80 from her before fleeing
Hull Crown Court heard Starkey, who has a limp, escaped with £80 and then hid in a bin for two-and-a-half hours before he was arrested by police following a search using dogs and helicopters.
He later told police he ‘can’t remember exactly what happened’ after taking heroin and spice.
Lee, 33, was the first of the three into the bingo hall on the pre-text of ‘selling perfume’.
But Judge Mark Bury said his true purpose was to ‘suss out the lie of the land’ before the other two entered.
Starkey and Kologaras then followed soon after, with Starkey clutching the weapon.
Describing Starkey’s actions, Abdul Shakoor, prosecuting, said: ‘He walked up to the complainant and told her to give him the money from the money belt she was wearing. He pulled out the claw hammer and the bag fell to the floor.
Meanwhile John Kologaras had stayed behind at the scene and his one job was to pick up the blue bag Starkey used to carry the hammer, pictured
Hull Crown Court heard Starkey was ‘so intoxicated he could barely stand’ and he was seen on CCTV swaying as he left the premises
The worker was seen on camera sitting down after the incident and the court heard she was so traumatised she changed jobs and moved home
‘He raised the hammer and waved it down towards the complainant as though he was going to strike her with it. He didn’t.
‘He shouted “Give me your money! Give me your f****** belt!” The complainant, fearful of being attacked, handed over the belt. It contained about £80.’
In a victim statement the woman said she had to leave work having been in continuous employment since she was 15.
She said she was worried about how she could afford Christmas presents for her children.
The court heard Lee tried to dissuade a female witness from following Starkey, after she bravely left the hall with intention of giving chase.
Josh Starkey, pictured, 23, was jailed for five years for robbing a bingo hall after threatening a female member of staff with a claw hamme
He also sent police the wrong way when they first arrived on the scene to help Starkey avoid detection.
In the days leading up to the robbery, Starkey had also committed the ‘mean offences’ of stealing two charity boxes from shops – one belonging to Stand Up To Cancer, and the other to Make A Wish.
Kologaras, 46, was so intoxicated in the robbery he could ‘hardly stand up’, and his role was limited to removing the blue plastic bag in which Starkey carried the hammer into the premises.
Two months later, on June 15, he was found ‘bent double and wretching’ after a member of the public flagged down a police car in Brisbane Street, west Hull, to report him carrying a ten-inch blade. He dropped the weapon when instructed and was arrested.
Starkey’s mother broke down in tears and briefly left the court when CCTV of the robbery was played.
Her family later left the court shouting angrily and banging doors when Starkey was jailed for five years after admitting robbery and two thefts.
Sentencing Starkey, the judge told him: ‘I have observed you during the course of this hearing and when it’s said on your behalf you are ashamed of this behaviour I’m inclined to accept that as true.
‘Well, you ought to be ashamed of it because it is despicable behaviour.’
Kologaras, of Hull, admitted assisting an offender and having a bladed article and was jailed for three years and 11 months.
Lee, also of Hull, admitted assisting an offender and was jailed for 32 months.
Accomplices John Kologaras, left, and Daniel Lee, right, were also jailed after admitting assisting Starkey by scoping out the bingo hall and disposing of evidence