A postmistress suffered a heart attack after she bravely resisted when two armed men tried to rob her premises, a court heard.
Carol Horsfall was behind the shop counter of Grange Moor Post Office when the two raiders struck and one of them, 19-year-old Jordan David Fleary from Crosland Moor has been given a seven-and-a-half year custodial sentence for his part in the crime.
a man came in wearing dark clothing, his hooded top was up and he had some dark material covering his face.
Tony Kelbrick, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that man was followed by another who also had his face disguised and was carrying a hammer.
Mrs Horsfall moved towards a panic button but the first man approached her holding a 10ins kitchen knife and warned her not to move.
He then said: “Give me the money. I am not joking, give the f…ing money from the Post Office.”
He told her to stay where she was and began climbing over the counter but Mrs Horsfall bravely ignored him and managed to open the door into the secure area where post office business was dealt with, known as “the fortress.”
She pulled the self-locking door behind her and then activated the alarm, refusing to hand over money as he continued his demands.
Mr Kelbrick said the two men then started to run from the shop but turned back and both were frantically trying to open the shop still without success.
The would-be robbers finally then ran from the shop and down a ginnel where a schoolboy saw one of the men remove a pair of latex gloves and throw them over a garden wall.
He told the police when they arrived and they were recovered and found to have two sources of DNA on them, one a female the other was Fleary.
Mr Kelbrick told the court immediately after the attempted robbery Mrs Horsfall began to feel chest pains. She was taken to hospital where test revealed that the shock of the events had brought on a heart attack.
That had caused damage to the heart muscle and the tests showed she “had no prior problems at all with her heart,” he said. “It was all down to the shock of the robbery.”
She was treated and was subsequently able to return to work.
When he was arrested Fleary at that time denied any involvement in the raid which happened on the afternoon of September 2, 2014. The court heard he had three previous convictions for robbery on his record.
Andrew Semple representing him said he had managed to stay out of trouble following his last conviction but became under financial pressure when his girlfriend was expecting their first child.
“He was struggling and worried about the future with that hanging over his head he became embroiled in this stupid and idiotic enterprise,” he said.
The crown accepted he was the man with the hammer who played a lesser role.
“He gave little thought to the potential consequences,” Mr Semple added.
He said fortunately the medical evidence indicated Mrs Horsfall had fully recovered.
Fleary, 19 of Disney Close, Crosland Moor, admitted attempted robbery and possessing an offensive weapon and was sent to a young offender institution for seven years, minus the days on remand qualifying under an electronic curfew.
Judge Christopher Batty said he and his accomplice had targeted vulnerable premises where a middle-aged lady was working. They were wearing disguises and his colleague had threatened Mrs Horsfall with a “huge knife.”
He said it “must have been terrifying. As a result she had a heart attack, she could easily have died by virtue of the fear you and your colleague instilled in her by the commission of this offence.”
He commended the schoolboy for his public-spirited actions.
Speaking after the sentencing Carol said she was pleased with the length imposed.
“It still think about what happened that day all the time,” she said. “But you just have to get on with life and I enjoy the job. I knew I had been taken ill straight after the robbery and was in hospital for four days undergoing tests. Now I always fear what my heart could do if I ever had to face such an adrenaline rush again. I’m still on medication.”