A life-long Corby criminal brandished a dumb-bell bar and leapt onto the counter of Danesholme Post Office in an attempt to rob cash, a court has heard.
William Youdale, known as Billy, had his hood up and socks over his hands when he tried to steal money in the robbery in May this year. As brave shop staff fought him off, his accomplice Sharon Gilchrist took the opportunity to swipe an armful of cigarettes from behind the counter before the pair were marched out of the shop.
Later that evening Youdale and Gilchrist, both of Lapland Walk, went to the home of another Corby man where Youdale smashed him over the head with a metal object before going into his house and pinning his mother up against the wall, threatening to burn down her home.
The pair appeared at Northampton Crown Court this lunchtime (Friday, September 3) where Recorder Michael Auty QC heard details of the horrendous crimes that left one of the shop staff fearing for her life.
Prosecuting, barrister Jack Talbot told the court how the raid at the Post Office at the Danesholme Neighbourhood Centre took place on May 24 this year just before 8pm.
Youdale, 37, was seen on CCTV coming into the store and jumping on to the counter before immediately falling off again.
The shop owner pressed the panic button to alert police.
Mr Talbot added: "She then grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground."
The shop owner managed to keep hold of him before a 19-year-old staff member, David Smith, came out of the back of the shop and bravely tackled Youdale, punching him several times in order to protect the two female staff members on the shop floor.
While this was going on, Sharon Gilchrist, 38, came into the shop and picked up 'as many cigarettes as she could carry' and the pair left. Another accomplice has not been traced.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, one of the staff members said she had been left fearing for her life. The statement read: "I genuinely thought, 'I am not going to live now'. I felt very, very helpless."
She said she had been left terrified of opening her front door and suffers from flashbacks.
An hour and a half later, at about 9.35pm, Youdale went to the home of another Corby man and waited outside with a woman, presumed by the court to be Sharon Gilchrist.
The man went out for a cigarette and saw the pair lurking, so called his mother who lived in the house to tell her to lock the door.
Mr Talbot said: "He returned to his house four minutes later and was hit to the back of the head with a metal object and received further blows to the body."
Alerted by the noise, his mother unlocked the door and her son fell through the door followed by Youdale, who continued to hit him then pinned the woman up against the wall. She shouted 'Billy Youdale' and at that point he left, smashing the glass in her window and saying: "I'll be back later to burn the house down."
When arrested, Youdale told police he'd been watching Netflix on the night in question. Gilchrist replied no comment to all questions.
The court was told that Youdale had a string of convictions for theft and carrying weapons as well as 14 convictions for violence. He had served 32 months in 2006 for a robbery and the pair had also carried out an attempted robbery in February 2019.
Mitigating for Youdale, John McNally said that his client had not worn a disguise and that his client had spent 23-and-a-half hours locked up every day on remand due to Covid restrictions.
He also said his client had a long-standing drug addiction and was currently on methadone.
Mitigating for Gilchrist, Liam Muir said his client had acted 'on the spur of the moment.'
Youdale admitted one count of attempted robbery, one count of GBH and another of common assault.
Gilchrist admitted one theft offence.
Sentencing the pair, Recorder Auty said that Youdale had had a 'particularly sad life, blighted by a pernicious addiction to drugs.' He said that another judge had ordered a pre-sentence report to decide whether Youdale should be classed as a dangerous offender and therefore be given an extended sentence for the public protection. Youdale had not turned up to meet the probation officer because he didn't want to miss his prison gym session.
Recorder Auty said: "I reach the conclusion that his is dangerous because of his total disregard for the staff in the shop.
"(The GBH victim) could so easily have suffered life-altering injuries. His long-term addiction to class-A drugs renders him unpredictable.
"(He) demonstrates a repeated indifference for the lives and welfare of anyone who gets in his way."
He passed an extended sentence of 12 years in jail, with an order that Youdale must serve eight years behind bars and four years in the community on licence.
With regard to Gilchrist, Recorder Auty said: "Her record is sad and depressing. This was a mean-spirited offence committed in the immediate aftermath of a very serious attempted robbery."
She was given a six month prison sentence and ordered to serve half of it in jail.
Both offenders appeared via video link from prison because they had been recalled following their release for the 2019 attempted robbery.