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Shopkeepers foil knife-wielding robber in Southampton

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

THIS is the dramatic moment whent shopkeepers tackled an armed robber who had just tried holding up their Southampton store at knifepoint.

Marek Kowalczyk had gone into the New Rywal store in St Mary’s Road wearing a balaclava and gloves, and armed with a knife.

Southampton Crown Court was told how the raid was captured on CCTV and showed how he pointed the blade at assistant Anita Zajak and demanded: “You must open the till or I will hurt you.”

Miss Zajak remained calm and told the raider she couldn’t because she didn’t have a key.

Prosecutor Megan Topliss said Kowalczyk repeated his threat but she gave him the same answer, hoping the owner who was in the back of the shop would see what was happening on CCTV.

As she tried to shut the till Kowalczyk grabbed a bundle of £10 and £20 notes as she called out to the owner, Kamil Szklarz.

The CCTV then shows Mr Szklarz tackling the armed robber, throwing him to the ground.

The three struggled near the shop entrance, with the pair restraining him until the police arrived.

Kowalczyk, 38, of Milton Road, Southampton, admitted robbery and possessing a knife, and was jailed for three years.

In mitigation, Peter Astris told the city crown court how Kowalczyk, a Polish national, and his wife had been suffering from depression. She had lost her father but she couldn’t afford to go his funeral in Poland, and then her mother suffered a stroke.

“His wife wanted to comfort her mother, then she suffered a stroke, and he was desperate to help her,”

said Mr Astris.

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