Drug Addict Robber Jailed For Targeting St Helens Pub

An armed drug addict robber who broke into a St Helens pub threatened a terrified woman and told her he had HIV has been jailed.

Jailing Colin Leyland for seven years a judge said that the robbery had "a deep and lasting effect" on the victim.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that 43-year-old Colin Leyland had climbed through a window into a flat above the Red Lion on October 17 this year.

He disturbed a barmaid who was lying in bed watching TV, and demanded she took him to a safe and holding a butter knife warned her: "You have two seconds to tell me."

Leyland took £1,200 from cash tins, before claiming that he was dying from the HIV virus.

He was quickly identified as he had been outside the premises very shortly before chatting to a policeman.

After Leyland, of no fixed address, was arrested he revealed he had a £10-a-day drug habit. He previous convictions including 40 for dishonesty.

Ian Morris, defending, said Leyland, a lifelong drug user, had intended to burgle the flat and was as surprised as the victim when he encountered her.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said although Leyland did not actually use the knife or threaten to stab his victim with it, "the implication behind your comment was obvious, that if she didn't cooperate, she would be injured". 

He said: "She must have been and was terrified by that prospect... at one point you told her you were dying and that you had HIV. “

Speaking after the case, investigating officer, Detective Constable Roy Waller said: "We're pleased that Leyland has been sentenced today for what was a frightening ordeal for the victim. To be confronted by someone in possession of a weapon is very distressing and we hope that the sentence gives her some peace of mind going forward.

"We are determined to identify and bring to justice anyone who threatens and steals from residents and businesses in St Helens, so if you hold any information about other incidents, come forward and we will do the rest, and keep our communities safe."

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