Newport teen gunpoint robber locked up for six years

South Wales Argus: ARMED ROBBER: Connor Harte ARMED ROBBER: Connor Harte

THIS "persistent" teenage thief was yesterday locked up for the protection of the public following his third armed robbery in two years.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Connor Harte went to Lifestyle Stores in Underwood on July 5 last year, armed with an imitation firearm. Store owner Christy D'Silva, was closing around 9pm when Harte, carrying a black draw string bag, asked him if he sold Coca-Cola.

He said yes and the pair went inside before Harte, 19, took out what he believed was a real hand gun, pointed it at the shopkeeper and demanded: "Open the till, put the money in the bag or I'll shoot you."

A defiant Mr D'Silva told him: "Go on then, shoot me," repeating himself three times before stepping forward into an aisle. Harte opened the weapon's safety catch, but realising the shop owner wouldn't back down, fled telling him: "Don't call the police."

The teenager, of Morden Road, Newport, got into a Vauxhall Astra where his friends Scott Stephens and Daniel Saunders were waiting, and Stephens drove them to Saunders' home in Malcolm Sargent Close, Ringland.

Saunders agreed to get rid of the gun and hid it near the former Hartridge High School before later retrieving it and throwing it into the River Usk.

Prosecutor Huw Evans, told how Saunders' dad Phillip Saunders, 54, helped his son evade police for a weekend, giving him cash and a new mobile phone. Harte was arrested on July 6 after police identified him on the shop's CCTV footage.

Daniel Saunders, 19, and Stephens, 25, of Tennyson Road, handed themselves into police on July 9, initially claming they knew nothing of Harte's plans for the robbery.

Harte pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to rob at an earlier hearing. Phillip and Daniel Saunders admitted a charge of assisting an offender, while Stephens was found guilty of conspiracy to rob after a trial. No further action was taken against Ben Evans, 21, of Malcolm Sargent Close, Newport, who travelled with the others to the robbery in Stephens' car.

James Tucker defending Harte said the "immature" teenager was no "hardened or cynical criminal" and said while he took the weapon to the store it was not used with force or to cause injury.

Robert Duvall, defending Stephens, said there was no way to know whether Stephens knew a gun would be used, but accepted he knew a threat or force would be used.

James Evans, for Daniel Saunders, said his client was of previous clean character and these events would have a detrimental effect on his life going forward. Stephen Jeary, defending Phillip Saunders said he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Recorder Tom Crowther said the robbery was no spontaneous or foolish incident, but was instead a "planned scheme". He praised Mr D'Silva's "astonishing" bravery and said the level of his fear should not be underestimated.

He described Harte as a "persistent" offender whose crimes were escalating and said he was imposing an extended sentence because he presented a serious risk of harm to the public and in particular to convenience storeowners.

Harte was given a six-year custodial sentence in a young offender's institution and will spend four years on licence upon release.

Stephens was locked up for four years, Daniel Saunders got 16 months, whilst his dad got 13 months.

Speaking after the hearing, detective inspector Alun Davies said: "This was a particularly distressing incident for the victim who was terrified when faced with the offender making demands. "Harte is a threat to the community and has shown the capability to commit crimes without regard for the victims involved. I am pleased that officers located and arrested him quickly, and those who aided him in committing his crime, and the investigation has resulted in appropriate custodial sentences today"

Teen had used a knife and chemical in robberies

The court heard Harte has two previous convictions for similar offences including a knifepoint robbery at Lifestyle Stores in Alexandra Road, Pill, in December 16, 2010, when he made off with £1,500 and cigarettes.

Four days later he robbed Ali's Convenience Store on the same road and threw ammonia into the face of shopkeeper Abdullah Ali. He also stabbed him in the leg with a screwdriver as he tried to fight back, before making off with £300.

Harte was given an 18-month detention and training order for the offences and was still on licence when he committed his latest crime. He was also subject to a suspended sentence order for harassment from May 2012, and should have had an electronic tag fitted two days before this latest incident becaue of further offences, but it was never fitted.

Comments (15)

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9:44am Sat 9 Feb 13

Floppy backed says...

And give the parents a good flogging too for failing the community and the cost to society! These children are only a reflection of their parents....pathetic!
And give the parents a good flogging too for failing the community and the cost to society! These children are only a reflection of their parents....pathetic! Floppy backed
  • Score: 1

11:02am Sat 9 Feb 13

Tony Soprano says...

Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house.
Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house. Tony Soprano
  • Score: -2

12:39pm Sat 9 Feb 13

richie55 says...

Six years...we all know that really means three and he has already robbed at knifepoint, thrown acid at someone now a gun. Now I am all for giving people a chance to change but there comes a time when we should realise we are wasting our time and some people are just nasty scum. He should have had 15 years!
Six years...we all know that really means three and he has already robbed at knifepoint, thrown acid at someone now a gun. Now I am all for giving people a chance to change but there comes a time when we should realise we are wasting our time and some people are just nasty scum. He should have had 15 years! richie55
  • Score: 2

1:16pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Dai the Milk says...

Life is the maximum sentence for robbery. He has committed three. Is there any wonder these creatures re-offend when there is no deterrent?
Life is the maximum sentence for robbery. He has committed three. Is there any wonder these creatures re-offend when there is no deterrent? Dai the Milk
  • Score: 2

3:07pm Sat 9 Feb 13

P C Neilson says...

Tony Soprano wrote:
Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house.
If it's the parenting that has failed, then targeting the parents will be futile. Arm the children with the tools they will need to become better parents.

Prison doesn't solve the problem, it postpones it.
[quote][p][bold]Tony Soprano[/bold] wrote: Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house.[/p][/quote]If it's the parenting that has failed, then targeting the parents will be futile. Arm the children with the tools they will need to become better parents. Prison doesn't solve the problem, it postpones it. P C Neilson
  • Score: -2

7:14pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Dai the Milk says...

P C Neilson wrote:
Tony Soprano wrote:
Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house.
If it's the parenting that has failed, then targeting the parents will be futile. Arm the children with the tools they will need to become better parents.

Prison doesn't solve the problem, it postpones it.
Prison does solve the problem as far as I am concerned. A proper sentence is a deterrent and at least the public are protected. Give them the parenting tools once inside by all means. But if someone sticks a gun in your face and demands your property what do you suggest the offender gets? A holiday in Center Parks?
[quote][p][bold]P C Neilson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tony Soprano[/bold] wrote: Actually Floppy I know the parents of 1 of these lads & they're good people, they've tried their best with the lad but he's not playing ball, he got in with the wrong types & has let his parents down badly, it's easy to say " blame the parents " but you don't know where they are or what they're up to once they've left the house.[/p][/quote]If it's the parenting that has failed, then targeting the parents will be futile. Arm the children with the tools they will need to become better parents. Prison doesn't solve the problem, it postpones it.[/p][/quote]Prison does solve the problem as far as I am concerned. A proper sentence is a deterrent and at least the public are protected. Give them the parenting tools once inside by all means. But if someone sticks a gun in your face and demands your property what do you suggest the offender gets? A holiday in Center Parks? Dai the Milk
  • Score: 2

7:28pm Sat 9 Feb 13

displayed says...

"Saunders' dad Phillip Saunders, 54, helped his son evade police for a weekend"

Like father like son!

"The teenager, got into a Vauxhall Astra where his friends Scott Stephens and Daniel Saunders were waiting, and Stephens drove them to Saunders' home"

Should have waited for a bus!
"Saunders' dad Phillip Saunders, 54, helped his son evade police for a weekend" Like father like son! "The teenager, got into a Vauxhall Astra where his friends Scott Stephens and Daniel Saunders were waiting, and Stephens drove them to Saunders' home" Should have waited for a bus! displayed
  • Score: -1

7:32pm Sat 9 Feb 13

displayed says...

"should have had an electronic tag fitted two days before this latest incident because of further offences, but it was never fitted."

Hmmmm, I wonder why!

Next fiasco!
"should have had an electronic tag fitted two days before this latest incident because of further offences, but it was never fitted." Hmmmm, I wonder why! Next fiasco! displayed
  • Score: 2

9:28pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Dolieboy says...

Wow what an extremely harsh sentence. Thought he may have had some community service!!
Wow what an extremely harsh sentence. Thought he may have had some community service!! Dolieboy
  • Score: 2

9:28pm Sat 9 Feb 13

rightsideup says...

Six years but it's not six years.He'll be out in three or four inflicting more of the same!.
Six years but it's not six years.He'll be out in three or four inflicting more of the same!. rightsideup
  • Score: 2

1:12am Sun 10 Feb 13

MR DUDLEY says...

Throw away the key, he will kill!
Throw away the key, he will kill! MR DUDLEY
  • Score: 2

11:02am Sun 10 Feb 13

atm_uk says...

At end of day sometimes is not the parents fault as when some children get older they get more abusive and threatening, if we lived in olden days again we could punish then without repercussions, nowadays you cant lay a finger on them or we the ones going to prison so i do understand where his parents are coming from, Also if prisons were prisons and not holiday camps then there would be rehabilitation this country has gone to soft and is afraid of punishing people properly for their crimes, make prison like american prisons and im sure a higher percentage wont offend again
At end of day sometimes is not the parents fault as when some children get older they get more abusive and threatening, if we lived in olden days again we could punish then without repercussions, nowadays you cant lay a finger on them or we the ones going to prison so i do understand where his parents are coming from, Also if prisons were prisons and not holiday camps then there would be rehabilitation this country has gone to soft and is afraid of punishing people properly for their crimes, make prison like american prisons and im sure a higher percentage wont offend again atm_uk
  • Score: -2

2:34pm Sun 10 Feb 13

P C Neilson says...

It 'must' be the parents fault, albeit as a result of culture and sociological reasons, and if prison was working (even those tough american ones) then we wouldn't need to keep building them and we wouldn't have career criminals.

We keep criminals in prison to protect the rest of us. That is all! If the person has come out from a stretch and continued to re-offend, then there has been no rehabilitation, and the problem has not been addressed, ergo it has been postponed.

What we can glean from this, is that, by the time a person gets to prison it is almost always too late for rehabilitation. This is another case for 'free will' being an illusion. We don't take savage dogs to court or lay awake at night thinking about taking revenge on them when we get attacked by one. In this context punishment makes no sense.

This is because there is a 'way' to make a savage dog, and because the contributing factor is such a short time span (the dogs owner) we can easily play back the history of events that led to us having to deal with a savage dog,

I don't believe in free will, I think that there is clearly a way to 'make' an Eileen Wurnos or an Ian Brady. If you could travel back in time, when would be the right time to kill Adolf Hitler? 20, 16, 10, 6 years old?

I find it difficult to agree that we are born bad, that we are not a product of what happens to us in the formative years of our cognition. Our justice system is built on probability of guilt (free will) if you could have an operation or take a pill to cure psychopathic tendencies, then the need to punish would dissolve.

An anti criminal pill or something like that may be a pipe dream for now, but I don't think it's necessary. We need our babies to have educations that nurture rationality and empathy, so that they in turn can have rational and empathetic babies.

Even when they stray off the path, the good ones tend to come back if the parents did a good job in those formative years.
It 'must' be the parents fault, albeit as a result of culture and sociological reasons, and if prison was working (even those tough american ones) then we wouldn't need to keep building them and we wouldn't have career criminals. We keep criminals in prison to protect the rest of us. That is all! If the person has come out from a stretch and continued to re-offend, then there has been no rehabilitation, and the problem has not been addressed, ergo it has been postponed. What we can glean from this, is that, by the time a person gets to prison it is almost always too late for rehabilitation. This is another case for 'free will' being an illusion. We don't take savage dogs to court or lay awake at night thinking about taking revenge on them when we get attacked by one. In this context punishment makes no sense. This is because there is a 'way' to make a savage dog, and because the contributing factor is such a short time span (the dogs owner) we can easily play back the history of events that led to us having to deal with a savage dog, I don't believe in free will, I think that there is clearly a way to 'make' an Eileen Wurnos or an Ian Brady. If you could travel back in time, when would be the right time to kill Adolf Hitler? 20, 16, 10, 6 years old? I find it difficult to agree that we are born bad, that we are not a product of what happens to us in the formative years of our cognition. Our justice system is built on probability of guilt (free will) if you could have an operation or take a pill to cure psychopathic tendencies, then the need to punish would dissolve. An anti criminal pill or something like that may be a pipe dream for now, but I don't think it's necessary. We need our babies to have educations that nurture rationality and empathy, so that they in turn can have rational and empathetic babies. Even when they stray off the path, the good ones tend to come back if the parents did a good job in those formative years. P C Neilson
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Sun 10 Feb 13

casto says...

jolly nice thug.lol
jolly nice thug.lol casto
  • Score: 2

4:21pm Mon 11 Feb 13

goldenvaalley says...

"Persistent"
It says it all doesn't it! If scum like this were locked up the first time they got caught when they were young,maybe prison may be a little more of a deterrent.

Why should good people have to live with this kind of scum in their villages and towns.
"Persistent" It says it all doesn't it! If scum like this were locked up the first time they got caught when they were young,maybe prison may be a little more of a deterrent. Why should good people have to live with this kind of scum in their villages and towns. goldenvaalley
  • Score: 2

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