AN ARMED robber threatened a cornered woman by making a gun gesture with his hand – and with a real firearm tucked in his waistband.
Vishar Pawer and Zain Andani, wearing dark clothing and bandanas over their faces, followed Gemma Klein down an alleyway besides Sainsbury’s in The Broadway, Stanmore, just after midnight on February 17, 2012. They then made menacing demands.
Pawer had a handgun tucked into his trousers, as CCTV footage later showed, but he never revealed it to Ms Klein, Harrow Crown Court heard on Friday, September 6.
Less than a fortnight before the trial was due to begin, both men changed their pleas and admitted the robbery.
Prosecutor Peter Gray told the court: “These two young men are loitering… looking for a victim, and a victim who would use that alleyway. They wait for about 15 minutes and they run down the alleyway, Pawer able to run a bit quicker than Andani. Andani is the one with a slight limp.
“They reach her and Andani said, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’, and Pawer said ‘Give us your stuff’, pointing to the waistband of his trousers. He continued, ‘I have a gun’ and made a gun gesture with hand. It is fair to say Ms Klein never saw a gun but there clearly was one.”
Ms Klein dropped her handbag and managed to squeeze past the men and flee towards The Broadway, where she was comforted by two passers-by.
Pawer and Andani escaped on a moped. Four days later the bag was found near the boundary fence of Stanmore College.
CCTV footage was shown on BBC One’s Crimewatch in November 2012, prompting an anonymous tip-off that led to the arrest of Andani and Pawer, a former part-time worker at Asda. A BB gun was discovered in Pawer’s home, but no firearm.
Sentencing them, Judge Graham Arran said: “It was a robbery accompanied by almost every single aggravating factor – night-time, planned, more than one offender, a vulnerable victim, a weapon but not used, a disguise, and restraint or detention. It involved a threat of shooting and there was, in fact, a gun.
“If somebody says ‘I’m going to shoot you’ and makes a gun shape with their hand and actually has a gun on them, that’s not a lower-level offence. There has to be a custodial sentence in both your cases.”
Former Stanmore College student Andani, 19, of Marsh Lane, Stanmore, was given three and a half years’ detention in a young offenders institution and Pawer, 21, of Gaydon Lane, Colindale, was jailed for three and a half years, both less the time spent on curfew and in custody.