An armed robber has walked free from prison after raiding a corner shop with a shotgun to pay off drug debts.Wait, what...?
Tristan Bassett, 20, had been bundled into a car, assaulted and threatened with having his family’s home burnt down before he was then given a shotgun and ordered by his dealers to raid a convenience store to get the money he owed them.He proved as inept at this as everything else, and was run off by the shopkeeper's wife, without ever getting the shotgun out.
Which provided quite the excuse-generator for his mouthpiece:
James Partridge, defending, told the court that although the robbery was not under duress – the drug dealers remained nearby but not in sight of the shop – it amounted to exceptional circumstances.
He said Bassett, who appeared in court via video link from prison, should be dealt with leniently.
He said: “He used cannabis and alcohol in the past as a crutch for him which made his situation worst (sic).
“He ended up in a situation where he owed money for drugs. On October 21 he encountered the men and was bundled in the car.
“The gun was something given to him to carry out the robbery and he did not take it out.”Yeah, that's not going to fly, surely?
Judge David Rennie accepted the case had exceptional circumstances, allowing him not to impose the minimum sentence of five years for firearms offences.Oh. Silly me.
He said: “It was your fault you got into debt, but nothing would prepare you for the situation you were forced into by the individuals who saw it as a way to get their money back. Yes you could have run away when they car drove off, but I understand you were unable to do so, governed by fear.”Did he name the dealers? We aren't told.