Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thug's Knifepoint Raid at Taxi Office

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thug's Knifepoint Raid at Taxi Office

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY WILLEY ; SARA NICHOL

HIGH on drink and drugs, a robber staged a knifepoint terror raid - just hours after being bailed for a savage gang attack.

Kieran Graham had joined bottlewielding thugs as they battered an innocent victim outside a New Year's Eve house party in Washington.

But he was set free on bail on May 13, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

And after celebrating with a drink and drugs binge, he launched an armed holdup at the office of Washington Taxis, at the Barmston Centre, terrifying clerk Natalie Burton.

Ms Burton, of Durham, was at work alone behind the desk when an out-ofcontrol Graham and an unsuspecting pal entered the office, trying to sell a laptop.

She told the Chronicle of the horrifying moment he stood on a chair and pulled out a blade, demanding she hand over the cash box.

"He initially came in with a friend trying to sell a laptop," said Ms Burton. "I was a bit suspicious and asked if it was stolen then told them they would have to come back when the lads - the drivers - were back.

"He must have then realised I was on my own. The desk I sit behind is quite high, so I sit on a high chair. Graham had to stand up on a chair to reach me.

"He then just lunged at me and brought out a knife and said he was going to stab me.

"He grabbed the cash box, but it fell to the floor. In an instant reaction, I just bent down and grabbed it, thinking, it's metal, so I'll hit him with it.

"I screamed that the drivers would be back soon and tried to pull down the shutters. It all happened really quickly. Then his mate, who was standing behind him, started pulling him away.

"His friend looked completely shocked - like he had no idea what Graham was going to do. I could tell by the look on his face, he was completely shocked.

"I don't know what would have happened if his friend hadn't pulled him out. …

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