Man threatened to kill worker with meat cleaver in raid on Portsmouth bookmakers

Portsmouth Crown Court
Portsmouth Crown Court
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A ROBBER who threatened to kill an employee at a bookmakers with a meat cleaver and took thousands of pounds has been given a lengthy prison sentence.

Matthew Hall demanded the £3,375 that was in the safe at Betfred’s store in Eastney Road, Southsea, on June 6 this year.

‘This would have been a terrifying incident to anyone who had been present in that betting shop that evening.

Judge Roger Hetherington

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 28-year-old entered the shop five minutes before it was due to close at 10pm.

Adele Hodge, who was working alone in the shop, was in the toilet when she heard several bangs.

She discovered Hall, wearing a balaclava and armed with a meat cleaver. He then demanded to know where the money was.

Hall grabbed the victim by the arm and forced her to the ground before making her open the safe.

She then noticed another man, who was also carrying a blade and demanded to know where the tills were.

Hall then threatened to kill her. The pair ran off and Hall abandoned his knife, balaclava, tracksuit bottoms and rubber gloves.

But DNA on the gloves and balaclava were matched to him.

Hall, who has previous convictions for theft and driving offences, escaped in a black BMW which police later stopped.

A new knife set was found in the car with two blades missing, one of which was subsequently found.

Ms Hodge has now said that she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and she cannot trust customers in her new job after leaving Betfred.

Rebecca Fairbairn, prosecuting, read out the victim’s witness statement.

She said: ‘I never thought it would affect me this much.

‘I was really down for a long time.

‘I do not go out much and I’ve changed jobs.

‘I started work in the restaurant, but it was too loud and there were too many people close to me.’

Judge Roger Hetherington was satisfied that a deal of planning had gone into the incident and sentenced Hall, who pleaded guilty, to seven years and eight months in prison.

He said: ‘This would have been a terrifying incident to anyone who had been present in that betting shop that evening.

‘One of the purposes of this sentencing must be to provide protection to people who have to work in such circumstances.’