Life sentence for man who raided Newport Spar and casino armed with hammer

JAILED: Jay Hamilton-Smith

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Jay Hamilton-Smith robbing the Spar on Clytha Park Road in Newport

First published in News
Last updated

AN ARMED robber who terrified female staff as he carried out attacks on a Newport Spar shop and a casino within three days has been given a life sentence today.

Jay Hamilton-Smith, formerly of Abergavenny, who was said to be in a desperate quest for cash to buy drugs, will have to wait four and a half years before he can apply to the parole board for release.

He hung his head in the dock at Worcester Crown Court as Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC insisted that the victim impact statements of the women, detailing their terror, were read to the court.

Jay Hamilton-Smith, aged 38, who lived on Llwynu Lane , Abergavenny, pleaded guillty to robbing Sharon Szekley at the Spar shop in Clytha Park Road in Newport, on May 3.

He also admitted the attempting to rob Anna Evans at Cashino, a casino in Hereford, on May 6. He handed himself into police a short time later.

Prosecutor Amrisha Parathalingham said Hamilton-Smith armed himself with a claw hammer and threatened the staff at the Spar shop to open the till. When they refused, he prised open two tills with the hammer.

He was caught on the shop's CCTV and his picture on the South Wales Argus website under the headline "Hammer-wielding robber." He was recognised by a policeman who had been dealing with him for previous offences.

Hamilton-Smith took the train to Hereford and called during the evening of May 6 at the casino, which was staffed by three women.

He had armed himself with a piece of wood he found in an underpass and threatened staff in a bid to make them open the safe. The manager raised her arm and was struck as the intruder brought down his weapon.

Fortunately she was not hurt. Since the incident her firm have taken on a guard to give more security.

Hamilton-Smith made off but was arrested without a struggle near the Orchard House, Barton Road, Hereford, a short time later.

The Recorder said he agreed with the probation assessment that Hamilton-Smith presented a high risk of harm to the public. His 33 previous convictions included numerous robberies, one in 2005 which resulted in an eight-year prison sentence.

Abigail Nixon, for Hamilton-Smith, said the only real mitigation was that he had given himself up to police and made immediate confessions of guilt.

He had got out of control because of his need for drugs. It was admitted that he had an appalling record but he was full of remorse after hearing his victims' account of their terror.

But Recorder Redgrave doubted his remorse was sincere, terrifying staff with weapons. "What right do you have to inflict such terror on them for you to get £200 to spend on drugs?" he said.

He was convinced that Hamilton-Smith was a danger to the public with the risk of causing harm by the commission of serious offences. His detection would have been inevitable with the fingerprints he had left behind and his identification on TV.

A life sentence must be imposed for the protection of the public, said the Recorder. Individual sentences would have totalled nine years so it would be four-and-half years before he could seek release.

‘I’ll shoot a customer’ threat at bank

IN 2010, we reported that Hamilton-Smith threatened to shoot a customer in a bank if the cashier didn't hand over cash - and was jailed for 15 months yesterday.

The robbery took place just two months after he was released from prison, six years into his eight-year sentence for another robbery.

Four years ago, Newport Crown Court heard Hamilton-Smith had been jailed for eight years in March 2005 for a £4,000 robbery in Abergavenny the previous October when a knife and crowbar were used.

Judge Eleri Rees gave him credit for confessing and noted the lack of a weapon despite his threat..

She said: "It does seem you find it difficult to cope with reality on life outside - when you are released again, there are stark decisions for you to make."

Hamilton-Smith walked into Barclays Bank in Gwent Square, Cwmbran, on October 12 2010 and handed a note to a cashier which read: “I have a gun, put all notes in bag or I will shoot one of your customers.”

The worker, who told police she felt “numb” put £1,000 into a bag given to her by Hamilton-Smith because she feared for people in the bank, including a pregnant co-worker.

Using CCTV from the bank, police tracked down Hamilton-Smith and he was arrested in Weston Super Mare three days later.

He told police he was depressed and he said he had a gun because he thought officers would shoot him. He did not have a weapon.

After the robbery, he caught a taxi to Cardiff then took a train to Weston Super Mare where he spent the money on drugs and slot machines.

Comments (12)

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6:43pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?!

Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer.
Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?! Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -3

6:45pm Tue 5 Aug 14

richie55 says...

The headline sounds tough... a life sentence, but when you read the story he could be out on parole in four and a half years. He was sentenced for robbery in 2005 and given eight years, out in four, so he is not going to stop. Another pathetic sentence by our judges.
The headline sounds tough... a life sentence, but when you read the story he could be out on parole in four and a half years. He was sentenced for robbery in 2005 and given eight years, out in four, so he is not going to stop. Another pathetic sentence by our judges. richie55
  • Score: 21

8:53pm Tue 5 Aug 14

VoiceOfDaPort says...

He will be on parole for the rest of his life, which is why it's called a life sentence
He will be on parole for the rest of his life, which is why it's called a life sentence VoiceOfDaPort
  • Score: -4

8:55pm Tue 5 Aug 14

VoiceOfDaPort says...

Also the 4.5 years is just the minimum tariff, it doesn't mean he will be out
Also the 4.5 years is just the minimum tariff, it doesn't mean he will be out VoiceOfDaPort
  • Score: 4

11:33pm Tue 5 Aug 14

displayed says...

Habitual, in more ways than one...............
Habitual, in more ways than one............... displayed
  • Score: 2

4:30am Wed 6 Aug 14

MikeO4O8 says...

These sentences the judges come up with are bloody pathetic.
Personally I think a life sentence is a bit harsh considering he didn't kill anyone, yet someone who injures someone else or kills them only get between 4-10 years at the most.
These sentences the judges come up with are bloody pathetic. Personally I think a life sentence is a bit harsh considering he didn't kill anyone, yet someone who injures someone else or kills them only get between 4-10 years at the most. MikeO4O8
  • Score: 6

2:10pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

Katie Re-Registered wrote:
Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?!

Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer.
If memory serves Katie, this man's father is "Toni" Hamilton-Smith, someone who may very well be in your "community". I could be wrong because "Toni" was an Ebbw Vale person but I will find out by tomorrow.
[quote][p][bold]Katie Re-Registered[/bold] wrote: Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?! Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer.[/p][/quote]If memory serves Katie, this man's father is "Toni" Hamilton-Smith, someone who may very well be in your "community". I could be wrong because "Toni" was an Ebbw Vale person but I will find out by tomorrow. Dai Rear
  • Score: -2

2:12pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

Quicker than that Katie
http://www.thefreeli
brary.com/WHEN+MY+DA
DDY+BECAME+MY+MUM.-a
061127266
Quicker than that Katie http://www.thefreeli brary.com/WHEN+MY+DA DDY+BECAME+MY+MUM.-a 061127266 Dai Rear
  • Score: -2

5:43pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Gareth Andrew jones 66 says...

The spar in response to this incident is closing the store as they will not payout for a security guard to protect their staff against the individuals who threaten the hard working staff who work there daily !
The spar in response to this incident is closing the store as they will not payout for a security guard to protect their staff against the individuals who threaten the hard working staff who work there daily ! Gareth Andrew jones 66
  • Score: 0

12:06am Thu 7 Aug 14

corpardguy says...

I don't care how "sorry" this piece of crap is he should be gone for a t least 10years, and parole needs to be earned so community service when/if he gets out.
Four and half years is a joke he has proven to be a violent criminal because he hit at least one of his prior victims. Its only luck he hasn't done someone permenant damage or even death . A claw hammer is a lethal weapon.
I don't care how "sorry" this piece of crap is he should be gone for a t least 10years, and parole needs to be earned so community service when/if he gets out. Four and half years is a joke he has proven to be a violent criminal because he hit at least one of his prior victims. Its only luck he hasn't done someone permenant damage or even death . A claw hammer is a lethal weapon. corpardguy
  • Score: 2

2:50pm Mon 11 Aug 14

grandmammamia says...

Gareth Andrew jones 66 wrote:
The spar in response to this incident is closing the store as they will not payout for a security guard to protect their staff against the individuals who threaten the hard working staff who work there daily !
That might have more to do with Tesco being opposite.......
[quote][p][bold]Gareth Andrew jones 66[/bold] wrote: The spar in response to this incident is closing the store as they will not payout for a security guard to protect their staff against the individuals who threaten the hard working staff who work there daily ![/p][/quote]That might have more to do with Tesco being opposite....... grandmammamia
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Fri 29 Aug 14

jimmysmith says...

Dai Rear wrote:
Katie Re-Registered wrote:
Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?!

Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer.
If memory serves Katie, this man's father is "Toni" Hamilton-Smith, someone who may very well be in your "community". I could be wrong because "Toni" was an Ebbw Vale person but I will find out by tomorrow.
Dai bit naughty and id think defamatory putting this other guys name on this thread .if your a policeman ,you could find your job at risk now pal . for the record jay hamilton smith is abergavenny based not ebbw vale
[quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Katie Re-Registered[/bold] wrote: Hmmm...since four and a half years seems to be judged to equate to a 'life sentence' in this chap's case it doesn't seem like he has a very high life expectancy, does it?! Also, other than an attempt at sensationalism and/or paternalistic sexism, tbh I don't really see why the Argus needs to make such an issue about the shop staff being female as I'm sure male shop staff would have been equally terrified when confronted by someone threatening them with a claw hammer.[/p][/quote]If memory serves Katie, this man's father is "Toni" Hamilton-Smith, someone who may very well be in your "community". I could be wrong because "Toni" was an Ebbw Vale person but I will find out by tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Dai bit naughty and id think defamatory putting this other guys name on this thread .if your a policeman ,you could find your job at risk now pal . for the record jay hamilton smith is abergavenny based not ebbw vale jimmysmith
  • Score: 0

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