A GUN-toting Rugby couple robbed a terrified hotel night porter and a taxi driver who thought he was ‘going to die’.
Gunman Adam Graham and his accomplice Lisa Amos knew that was when the safe would have the most money in it before it was banked the next day – because Amos had previously worked there.
Graham, 38, of Prior Park Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of robbery, two of possessing a firearm at the time of the offences and possessing ammunition.
He and Amos, 33 – of the same address, who had pleaded guilty to all five charges at an earlier hearing – were both jailed for a total of eight-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Laura Hobson said the couple’s first victim was chosen by chance as he was at the front of the taxi rank outside Rugby railway station at 9.30pm on Sunday August 28.
The defendants got in the cab and went to York Street, where Graham pulled out a gun, pointed it at the driver and said: “Give me the money.”
The terrified driver, who did not realise the barrel of the .38 calibre revolver had been blocked up, handed over £60-£70 – but Graham and Amos demanded more.
Graham pushed the gun into his neck, saying ‘Don’t tell the police,’ and the driver gave them his wallet – and they also took his phone.
After they got out, the petrified victim drove back to a police van they passed on the way and reported it.
At 4.30am on the following Tuesday, the night porter at the Premier Inn hotel in Brownsover Road was outside for a cigarette break when Graham appeared ‘as if from nowhere’ and said: “I’ve got a gun. I want your money.”
He pointed the revolver at the porter and ordered him to get cash from the till.
The porter gave him £49 from the till, but he demanded more from the safe.
Miss Hobson explained Amos had inside knowledge of the premises as she previously worked there as a night porter – and knew the safe would have the most in it on a Tuesday.
After that robbery, Graham tried to change his appearance.
But the pair were confronted by armed officers when they were spotted in Hudson Road – with one officer raising his weapon, announcing: “Armed police.”
Graham fled, but when he was caught and arrested nearby he told the officers where he had thrown the revolver as he ran, and Amos was also arrested nearby.
When police went to the couple’s home, they found four live rounds of .38 ammunition, although the gun was not capable of firing them.
The taxi driver said when the gun was held to him he thought he was going to die, and still suffers flashbacks and struggles to work at night.
The night porter said he was also scared about going to work – but that his Christian faith helped him forgive the defendants.
David Everett, defending, said both Amos and Graham had had poor starts in life, and Graham was ‘an alcoholic or very close to it’ by the time he was 19.
He began committing offences when he turned to drugs after being stabbed by his brother, and both he and Amos had been committing offences together – although none this serious – to get money for drugs.
Mr Everett said they had managed to stop taking heroin and crack after they were released from a sentence for fraud in 2010 – but went back onto drugs ‘not long ago’ after Amos suffered a traumatic experience they struggled to cope with.
Their habit was costing £40 a day, and in desperation, after obtaining the gun, they carried out the robberies.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones gave them consecutive four-year sentences for the two robberies, with a further six months for the possession of ammunition.
He told them: “Not for the first time people stand to be sentenced in the crown court because of what they did motivated by a desire to satisfy an addiction to class A drugs.
“You both have to understand this cannot be mitigation. It is inevitable you will both have traumas in your life, but we all suffer that risk.
“If we said that was an excuse, it would make serious crime something that can be turned to just because of misfortune.
“This was serious in both instances because of the timing of the robberies, the vulnerability of the individuals, and the fact that an, albeit non-usable, firearm was used. That was no consolation to them; they didn’t know that.”