The getaway driver for armed robberies at a filling station in Warwick and a store in Long Itchington claimed he did not know what his passenger was doing while he was waiting for him in the car.
But Samuel Gold’s protests of innocence were shot down after a jury at Warwick Crown Court heard where the gun used in the two robberies was found – under his bed.
Gold (30) of Freshwater Grove, Leamington, was found guilty of two charges of robbery and two charges of possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing an offence.
Prosecutor Simon Foster had told the jury: “What you are here to deal with are two gunpoint robberies on the evening of the 15th of January, a Sunday.”
He said that a CCTV camera at the BP garage in Stratford Road, Warwick, showed that at 8.20pm a white VW Golf pulled onto the forecourt.
“The Golf is perfectly visible, and no less visible is the driver, who is this defendant, Samuel Gold. He gets out and goes into the garage shop.”
Gold bought something in the shop, returned to the car, and drove off before turning into Shakespeare Drive and going round the block before returning to Stratford Road.
He then backed onto a grassed area which runs along the side and rear of the filling station, ‘from where you can make your way to the garage without making yourself known to the CCTV until you’re in the shop.’
Gold remained in the car while his passenger, dressed in black and with his hoodie concealing his face, went into the shop brandishing a gun in his right hand.
The gun was pointed at the cashier by the unidentified robber who demanded: “Clear the till out. Give us all your money. Put it in a bag.”
The cashier obeyed, ‘as well he might,’ commented Mr Foster, as the robber told him: “I don’t want to do this, but I’m in trouble.”
Not satisfied with the amount of cash he was given, he leaned over the counter to check the till drawer and, seeing there was no more in it, demanded cigarettes which were handed over.
He then left with just over £200 in cash and the packets of cigarettes, and returned to the Golf which drove off at speed.
“Jump, but not very long, to seven minutes past nine, and to the Co-op store in Long Itchington, which is about 12-and-a-half miles away, which you can do in the time.
“Again there is CCTV in that store, and enter the same man, wearing a balaclava.
“He still had the gun, and he pointed it at the two frightened assistants and said ‘I want the money.’ He ordered them to go to the till and asks for the money to be put in a bag.
“He again came across as almost apologetic, saying ‘I don’t want to do this.’ But he was pointing a gun, and once again he left with cash, about £400,” said Mr Foster.
When the police saw the CCTV recording they could make out the registration number of the Golf and spoke to its owner who revealed that he had lent it to Gold.
Gold was found and arrested about two weeks later, and claimed he was of no fixed address – which Mr Foster said was not true, and that he lived in a multi-occupancy house in Freshwater Grove, where he had a ground floor front room.
The police searched the room, and under the bed, wrapped in a blue cloth, they found a blank-firing Walther pistol which ‘to all intents and purposes appeared to be the real thing.’
During the trial Gold accepted he had been the driver, but said his passenger had asked to be taken to the petrol station and to the store, and claimed he did not know what he was doing, or that the gun was under his bed.
But Mr Foster said: “The Crown say he participated in the offences, even if he was not the one who thrust the gun into the shopkeepers’ faces.
“He did so by driving the car and getting the actual robber to and from the shops, and by providing concealment for the weapon.”
After the jury had returned its unanimous verdicts, Judge Barry Berlin adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared to consider whether Gold poses a danger to the public, and remanded him in custody.