Honiton antiques robber jailed for six years

Edward O'Hare

Edward O'Hare - Credit: Archant

A robber has been jailed for six years for a £400,000 raid on an antiques shop in which he left a terrified woman shop assistant bound and gagged.

Edward O’Hare travelled to Devon from London armed with cable ties and masking tape and waited outside, Banwell Antiques, in Honiton, until shop worker Sarah Richards came to open up.

He bundled her inside and held his hand over her face before tying her up and leaving her in a kitchen while he used the safe keys to escape with an enormous hoard of antique jewellery.

O’Hare was caught after his ex-partner spotted him from CCTV in a Channel Five television appeal as she was cooking her daughter’s supper three weeks later.

DNA from the cable ties which he used to bind victim Sarah Richard’s wrists later confirmed he was the robber.

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During the raid he told her he was desperate for money to pay off debts and he fled to Kent, then London, and then Belgium, where he was eventually traced and arrested.

His victim only escaped because she was able to free herself enough to get to a phone to call for help, but was so terrified when police broke in to rescue her that she fainted repeatedly.

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The 58-year-old was so traumatised she has been unable to work since the robbery in March last year and made a victim impact statement which said O’Hare had ruined her life.

O’Hare, aged 46, of no fixed abode, admitted robbery and was jailed for six years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “You subjected the victim to a lengthy ordeal and stole jewellery with a retail value of £400,000. She was left shaken and shocked and was completely terrified and in utter fear she would be injured.

“When the police arrived they had to break in and while they were doing so they saw her faint twice. You got away with all the contents of the safe, none of which have been recovered.

“Fortunately, three weeks later, your ex-partner saw the CCTV on a televised crime appeal. She recognised you and called the police.

“This was a well-planned, violent robbery of a woman in her 50s in which you stole jewellery of very considerable value. It has had lasting consequences on the victim.”

Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said O’Hare got a friend to drive him to Devon on the morning of Saturday, March 22 last year.

He set on the shop assistant as she was opening the door, putting his hand over her face forcibly for 22 seconds. He tied her up and forced her to reveal the location of the safe keys. During the raid he repeatedly told her not to look at his face and she only raised the alarm after partially freeing herself from his restraints. She suffered bruising to her face, arms and legs.

Miss Jennifer Dempster, defending, said O’Hare had acted out of desperation and had not used a weapon or disguise or caused any serious injury.

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