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14 September 2016, 10:26
A prisoner who robbed two newsagents in Sittingbourne with a screwdriver after absconding from an open jail has been sentenced to three years and seven months.
Shaun O’Shea, 32, of Mountview, Borden, had been serving time for a previous offence at the prison on the Isle of Sheppey, but failed to return after being allowed out to work in the community in May 2016.
On the evening of Monday 8 August he entered a shop in Chaucer Road, Sittingbourne and threatened the lone member of staff with a screwdriver. He then ordered her to fill his backpack with money from the till before leaving with approximately £200.
Two days later he attempted to rob a second newsagent on London Road, but fled empty-handed when the cashier tried to grab the screwdriver from him.
He was arrested on Friday 12 August after being identified from CCTV footage of the incident in Chaucer Road.
O’Shea later pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery and escaping from lawful custody, and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 9 September.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Kara Sweetland said: "Shaun O’Shea betrayed the trust that was placed in him when he failed to return to prison, and made things much worse for himself by committing these two serious offences while wanted for arrest.
"He was given the opportunity to get his life back on track but instead took the easy option and returned to the type of unlawful behaviour that landed him behind bars in the first place.
"Hardworking members of public deserve better than to have offenders like O’Shea terrorising them in their place of employment and I welcome the custodial sentence the courts have seen fit to impose."