£400 for PO raid heroine Denise

A post office worker stood up to three masked men wielding a samurai sword and stopped them raiding the store's safe, a court heard last week.Judge Paul Downes praised Denise Laws for her actions and awarded her £400 from the public purse in recognition of her bravery.

A post office worker stood up to three masked men wielding a samurai sword and stopped them raiding the store's safe, a court heard last week.

Judge Paul Downes praised Denise Laws for her actions and awarded her £400 from the public purse in recognition of her bravery. He told Norwich Crown Court: “She was very brave and should be rewarded.”

The robbery happened on June 28 just after 9.40am at the post office in Feltwell. Prosecutor Malcolm Robins said three men had arrived at speed in a Blue Renault Megane which skidded to a halt outside the building. The occupants were all wearing balaclavas.

He added: “They were brandishing a large sword as they made their way behind the counter. Denise Laws who worked with Amanda Denby, the post mistress, stood in front of the post office safe and denied the men acess.”


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Mrs Denby ran upstairs to protect her two children while Mrs Laws escaped through the kitchen where she tried to cal the police and alert neighbours. The post office was ransacked and £4,000 in cash was taken.

Suffolk police managed to catch the robbers 14 miles away with the help of the force helicopter and a stinger device which disabled their getaway vehicle.

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Daniel Steward, 20, James Horner, 20, and John Hamilton, 21, all from Coventry admitted robbery.

Mr Robins said that Stephen Denby, who ran inside the post office to protect his family, described them as “menacing”. He said that the incident still made him angry because the robbers showed no concern for the consequences of their actions.

All three were sentenced to four and half years in prison and Horner was given another two years to run consecutively for two burglaries and 20 other offences which were taken into consideration.

Alexander Jacobs, defending Horner, said the robbery was an escalation from his previous offending and he was “bitterly sorry”. Steward had acted under the influence of “a cocktail of drink and cocaine,” according to his barrister Charles Myatt. Jonathan Morgans, for Hamiltion, said he was addicted to drugs.

Judge Downes said: “This was an isolated post office where very often the staff are females who are very vulnerable. Those you robbed must have been absolutely petrified and this must have had a terrifying affect on them.”

Outside court Det Sgt Chris Curtis said: “This was a vile crime that struck terror into the hearts of those directly involved. It is not only a crime against individuals but a crime against a close knit rural community.

“The sentences should act as a warning to others intent of destroying the fabric of life in Norfolk.”

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