Former owner of Wellingborough chippy slams “disgusting” sentence for knife-wielding robber who threatened to stab him

Ray Critchlow and his wife with the paddle they used to beat off the robbers.
Ray Critchlow and his wife with the paddle they used to beat off the robbers.

The former owner of a Wellingborough chippy which was the subject of a “terrifying” knifepoint robbery says his two-year jail sentence is “disgusting”.

Ashley Berry, 24, punched Ray Critchlow, then owner of Olympic Fish Bar in Olympic Way, in February 2014 and threatened to stab him after he jumped over the counter and demanded money from the till.

He was sentenced to two years in prison at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, February 15.

But Mr Critchlow says the sentence is far too lenient and that the assault is “still with them now”.

He said: “Two years is absolutely disgusting, they might as well just let him walk free.

“He put us through hell and high water, and it’s still with us now.

“Every time somebody comes into our shop on their own that looks like a dubious character we are ready to jump and leap over that counter.

“He was a regular customer who we served so often we even gave credit.

“We were told he would get three years if he pleaded guilty so to get two is a joke.

“It’s made me completely lose my faith in the criminal justice system.”

Mr Critchlow and his wife Kam Fung Tsang sold Olympic Fish Bar just a few months after the attack and now own another chip shop.

The court heard Mr Critchlow heard his wife screaming after two men, wearing hoods and scarves over their faces, came into the shop as they were cleaning up for the night.

After being confronted by Mr Critchlow, Berry, who was wearing a sock on his hand, punched him in the face.

Mr Critchlow managed to loosen Berry’s face covering but the offender then threatened to ‘stick him with a knife’.

Berry - who was arrested after his DNA was matched to a sock at the scene - escaped with just a bag of 50p coins, totalling £29.50.

James McLernon, mitigating, said Berry was a recovering heroin addict who had made “remarkable progress” in the past two years.

Mr McLernon said Berry’s offending had been linked to his heroin addiction but he was no working hard to become clean of drugs.

His Honour Judge Timothy Smith said the robbery was a “terrifying incident” that has had a significant impact on Mr Critchlow and his wife.

Berry, of Toms Close, Collingtree, Northampton, is likely to serve half his sentence in jail before being released on licence.