Brynmawr man pretended to have gun in robbery

A ROBBER pretended he had a firearm in an attempt to steal a car off a Chinese takeaway worker, a court heard.

Matthew Hartson, 26, left his victim so scared he was unable to run away and kept falling to the floor as the defendant stood over him, with his hand under his shirt, making the shape of a gun.

Newport Crown Court was told that Chinese takeaway worker Zhou Yao Tang had left work on Bailey Street, Brynmawr, at 12.20am on September 20 and tried to help Hartson, who approached him.

Prosecutor Gareth James said Mr Zhou understands little English, but thought the defendant was asking for a lift home.

He gave Hartson his sat nav for him to type his address into, but said Hartson then became “aggressive”, raising his voice.

Mr Zhou became frightened, so gave Hartson a £10 note and some change for him to get a taxi. But he was pushed to the floor on two occasions, with the defendant demanding his car keys, said Mr James.

In order to scare Mr Zhou further he kept placing one hand up his shirt to make it look like he had a gun, Mr James said.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Zhou said: “He put his fingers in the shape of a gun which made me think he may do something terrible.

He was scary, violent and threatening.”

Hartson, of Cosy Flats, Brynmawr, took the keys for Mr Zhou’s Insignia car and got in, but was unable to drive away before police arrived.

Defence barrister Geoff Jones said Hartson was very drunk and regrets the incident, with the victim only suffering minor scuff marks.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident, with Judge Niclas Parry saying: “It was an appalling, prolonged, terrifying attack on a man, leaving his place of work, who had shown you kindness and was prepared to offer you a lift and give you money.

“But, you repeatedly attacked him. Such was his fear, he fell over for no reason, fearing something dreadful would happen.”

He sentenced Hartson to 45 months in prison after he admitted the robbery of Mr Zhou and banned him from driving for three years.

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