Pair guilty of threatening Barnstaple tattooist Mark Angell with meat cleaver and crossbow
A pair of robbers have been warned they face long jail sentences after subjecting a tattooist to a terrifying knifepoint ordeal over a disputed bill of just £70.
Steven Trower and Paul Giles armed themselves with a meat cleaver and a crossbow when they went to victim Mark Angell’s Barnstaple home to demand the money.
Giles was upset because a woman friend had borrowed the £70 off him and spent it on a tattoo which showed a crab crawling around her shoulder.
Trainee body artist Mr Angell failed to complete the job and so the pair and two friends went round to force him to hand over the money.
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They walked with him to a cashpoint in Barnstaple High Street where he withdrew £70, handed it over, and waited until his attackers had gone away before calling the police.
Trower and Giles were found guilty of robbery by a jury at Exeter Crown Court despite Mr Angell being jailed in a neighbouring court room on the second day of the trial for attacking a 15-year-old boy in an unrelated incident.
The jury reached their decision after watching CCTV footage from town centre cameras in Barnstaple which showed Mr Angell being shadowed by a group of people whose faces were covered by hoodies.
They also watched footage from the Nisa convenience store in the High Street, where Mr Angell tried to get cashback, in which the two men were seen lurking behind him with hoods up.
Trower, aged 33, of High Street, Combe Martin, and Giles, aged 44, of Victoria Road, Barnstaple, both denied robbery. They were both found guilty and remanded in custody.
Trower was cleared of stealing a PSP playstation from Mr Angell’s flat.
Both men have criminal records, with Trower having been jailed in the past for armed robbery and Giles for causing grievous bodily harm.
Judge Phillip Wassall adjourned sentence for pre sentence reports and a psychiatric reports designed to assess the dangerousness of the two men. He said he was considering indeterminate or life sentences.
He told them:”You are both facing very substantial custodial sentence for this robbery in the victim’s home with weapons.
“Given your previous convictions it is extremely likely in your case, Trower, and likely in yours, Giles, that I will have to consider indeterminate or discretionary life sentences
“I am ordering reports not so the probation service can consider alternatives to prison because there is no alternative to lengthy sentences, but to help me with an assessment of dangerousness.”
During a week long trial Mr Angell told how he was wrapping Christmas presents when the two men came into his flat in Belle Meadow Court and demanded £70.
He said he was headbutted by Trower and threatened with a meat cleaver and cross bow before he agreed to go to a cashpoint in Barnstaple High Street to withdraw the cash.
He stopped on the way at a Nisa shop to try to get cashback and the jury were shown CCTV which showed four people whose faces were hidden by hoodies following him in.
CCTV showed him walking on his own down the High Street to the bank but he told the court that by this stage he was obeying orders because he believed the crossbow might be used on him from a distance.
Trower said any violence used was in self defence and that Mr Angell agreed to give back the money.
Giles said he did not know any of the other three, who happened to be in his flat when he set off to recover the tattoo money.
He said they had walked with him without invitation and that he had been shocked when Trower headbutted Mr Angell.
He said he did not think the headbutt contributed to the alleged victim’s decision to go to the bank and repay the money and that he had not threatened or used any force and not taken any weapon to the scene.