Sidmouth armed robber 'dangerous criminal'

PUBLISHED: 13:31 30 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:09 18 June 2010

A ROBIN Hood self-styled armed robber from Sidmouth who committed a catalogue of crimes has been sentenced to 13 years behind bars. Stephen Jackley, of Manstone Avenue, robbed or attempted to rob banks, building societies and betting shops in East Devon

A ROBIN Hood self-styled armed robber from Sidmouth who committed a "catalogue" of crimes has been sentenced to 13 years behind bars.

Stephen Jackley, of Manstone Avenue, robbed or attempted to rob banks, building societies and betting shops in East Devon and in the Worcestershire area.

The 23-year-old left his victims traumatised by his threatening actions during the six-month crimewave.

Jackley brandished guns, a seven-inch long combat knife, a hammer and a fake bomb in the premises he targeted and on one occasion he tried to stab a defenceless victim who challenged him.

He boasted in diaries found by police at his University of Worcester halls of residence that he was a 'modern-day' Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor.

But of the £10,686 he netted, only £1,255 was paid out to the NSPCC in Worcester, after he caused £5,000 damage breaking in. He had meant to break into a bank next door.

When Jackley appeared before a judge at Worcester Crown Court last week he pleaded guilty to 18 offences including five robberies, three attempted robberies, seven counts of possessing a firearm, one burglary, one attempted burglary and ABH.

Judge John Cavell, when sentencing Jackley last Friday, said: "I can't begin to imagine what possessed a man of your obvious abilities to resort to this appalling series of serious crimes."

Judge Cavell described the hundreds of pages of notes found in Jackley's room as "chilling". It included detailed plans for more robberies, his wish to buy a real gun in the USA, disguises and ways of kidnapping staff.

DC Alex Bingham, who lead the East Devon investigation, said after sentencing: "He committed a catalogue of offences which were calculated and he showed at times he was prepared to use violence and force. He was a callous individual and had no thought for his victims."

Peter Tooke, a senior lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "At first Jackley comes across as a silly young man with romantic notions.

"But once you look below the surface this is a very serious case. So we are very pleased that a dangerous criminal has been brought to justice.


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