Rag doll

CCTV shows knife-wielding man throwing victim ‘like a rag doll’ in attempt to rob convenience store

CCTV footage released by police shows a store clerk’s horrific experience as a knife-wielding man attempts to rob two convenience stores in a single day.

Both offenses occurred on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

The first occurred at McColl’s in Church Street, Eye, and the second at Londis in Sizewell Road, Leiston.

Read more: Suffolk Police investigate Lowestoft brawl after 20 people scuffle

Craig Johnson, 39, of no fixed address was then arrested the next day (March 30) after being quickly identified as a suspect.

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Johnson was released on bail in connection with the incidents, but remained off the streets as he was wanted during his recall to jail.

He received a subpoena charging him with the offenses in November 2020 and appeared before magistrates on December 18, 2020.

Last Friday (4 February), Johnson appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in connection with the incidents in which he received a 10-year sentence.

Here he was sentenced to six years and three months in prison and was also given an extended license term of three years and nine months.

The 39-year-old previously pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of armed robbery.

On the first offense, Johnson walked into the McColl’s in Church Street around 7:45 p.m. with a knife and an orange bag.

He then grabbed a female staff member and, while holding the knife to her neck, dragged her into the store, shouting “give me the money, open the tills, give me the money now”.

Johnson then leaned over the store counter and attempted to open the tills while still holding his victim by the neck and hair.

However, he was unsuccessful and dragged her through the front door of the store before running back with her inside and threatening another member of staff in a second attempt to enter the checkout.

Johnson left the store still brandishing the gun but without the carry bag he had dropped on the floor.

No money or items were stolen, but the victim was shaken, cut and bruised.

Later the same day at Londis in Sizewell Road, Leiston, Johnson again entered the premises of a convenience store carrying a knife where he asked the member of staff to open the till.

Here he was successful, but Johnson then continued and entered the back office of the store and, after a short scuffle, pushed his victim against the wall and demanded to know where the safe was.

The victim was able to flee, saying he would go get the key.

Leaving the store, Johnson went back behind the counter and picked up a number of packets of tobacco to add to the stolen money.

Detective Inspector Matt Adams described both crimes as “horrific experiences for store staff to endure” and said the first victim was tossed “like a rag doll”.

“This extreme use of violence was totally unnecessary,” he said.

“I found the CCTV of the incident quite disturbing and it’s hard to imagine the fear this young woman felt.

“Although she suffered several cuts and bruises, I am grateful that she escaped without serious injury.

“Johnson has an appalling history of violent crime – he has previous convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, serving significant prison sentences in the process.

“When he committed these most recent offenses he was still on parole as he was serving a six-year extended license from a previous sentence.”

He added: ‘I am extremely happy to see Craig Johnson returned to prison for a considerable length of time and hope it brings some solace and solace to his victims.’

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