Video: Serial offender jailed after brutal robbery in Hornchurch town centre
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:27 27 March 2015
A homeless drug addict who robbed a fishmonger of £4,500 in a brutal lunchtime attack has been jailed for two and a half years.
Graham Plant, 39, carried out the assault on company director Paul Hollick in Station Lane, Hornchurch, on January 24, as he made his way to the bank to pay in £4,500 in takings.
The shocking footage, obtained by the Recorder, was captured on CCTV from restaurant Vertigo Lounge.
It shows Plant and an accomplice – who is still at large – attacking Mr Hollick before fleeing in different directions.
At his sentencing, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Plant, who has 19 previous convictions for theft-related offences, had recently become homeless after his relationship broke down.
He instigated the robbery to fund his long-term drug addiction.
Prosecutor Edward Lewis said: “This was a pre-planned attack. The defendant had seen the owner of the fish shop take his takings to the bank on a number of occasions.
“He was down on his luck and spoke to a friend about how to get money by robbing the victim. He waited in an alleyway before nodding to a friend who dragged him to the ground.”
Plant, who pleaded guilty to one count of robbery last month, had admitted punching Mr Hollick in the face twice, causing a cut to the side of his head.
“Clearly the incident must have had a pretty traumatic effect on the victim,” added Mr Lewis.
The accomplice ran off with the bag of cash but didn’t get far thanks to a have a go hero who witnessed the attack from his car.
The court heard how the mystery man “landed a few digs” on Plant’s friend before retrieving the bag and returning it to Mr Hollick.
Mitigating for Plant, Sandee Darvies told the court: “This is a man who voluntarily surrendered himself and confessed.
“He has lengthy previous convictions however in the last five years hasn’t offended. He has never been involved in an offence like this and can’t understand how he did this to somebody else. He would like to issue a personal apology to the victim.”
Sentencing Plant, judge Alastair Hammerton said: “You have a long criminal record. You’re aged 39 and already credited with 19 theft and similar offences between 2001 and 2010.
“I accept you have shown remorse but the only sentence I can give is an immediate prison sentence.”
Speaking to the Recorder after the attack, Vertigo Lounge manager Sam Scott, who witnessed it, spoke of the moment the driver returned Mr Hollick’s bag.
“The victim came back to the Lounge and said some guy had swung round in a BMW and got his bag back for him. Then the guy in the BMW came round beeped his horn said ‘see you later mate’ and just drove off.”