A convicted killer who carried out a “bizarre” robbery at a shop with a fake shotgun told staff: “I’m not dangerous. I’m just desperate,” a court has heard.
Mark Junor, 46, left workers at a RS McColl shop in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, “fearful” for their lives after walking out of the store with 40 Lambert and Butler cigarettes and £270 cash.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Wednesday how, moments earlier, Junor walked into the branch at 9.53pm on February 17, 2022, with an imitation firearm.
The court heard that the fake gun was nothing more than two metal barrels that had been tied together with tape.
Prosecutor Chris McKenna told the court that Junor was wearing a flat cap, a blue surgical mask and a dark knee length jacket which was made from either suede or leather.
He approached staff members Grant Thomson and Jennifer Frew with an item which they thought was a shotgun.
Mr McKenna told judge Lord Sandison: “He asked, ‘can I get 40 Lambert and Butler?’ The accused then said something similar to, ‘Sorry, but I am going to need you to give me the money’.
“He produced a black item described by the witnesses as two metal poles with black tape on them.
“Both witnesses believed the item to be a double barrelled shotgun. Part of the item was concealed by the accused’s jacket. Grant Thomson and Jennifer Frew feared for their safety upon seeing this.
“The accused grabbed the two packets of cigarettes and said ‘I’m not dangerous. I’m just desperate.’”
The story emerged after Junor, also of Ellon, pleaded guilty to a charge of brandishing an imitation firearm at the two staff members and threaten them before robbing them of cash and cigarettes.
Mr McKenna told the court that Junor was given a 78-month sentence in September 2010 for the culpable homicide of Martyn Stewart, 28, in November 2009, in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire,.
On that occasion, Junor and his co accused Elaine Young – then aged 24 – wanted to get heroin from the victim but a fight ensued.
Prosecutor Gary Allan KC told the court on that Junor and Mr Stewart came to blows and began to struggle.
Mr Stewart gained the upper hand in the fight but Junor produced a knife.
The court heard the knife was knocked from Junor’s hand.
Young picked it up and “struck out” at Mr Stewart, stabbing him in the heart.
With the latest offence, the court heard that Junor left the shop with cigarettes and £270 in cash. He warned the shop workers not to contact police otherwise he would come back to the shop with “an associate”.
Mr McKenna added: “Grant Thomson and Jennifer Frew were in a state of shock at this time.
“After a couple of minutes, Grant Thomson locked the front door and Jennifer Frew activated the silent alarm. They went into the stock room which is protected by a secure metal door and contacted the police.
“Grant Thomson described being genuinely concerned for his life during the incident and Jennifer Frew described being traumatised afterwards.”
The court heard that the police managed to establish Junor was the man responsible for the robbery and he was arrested, making his initial appearance on the charge at Peterhead Sheriff Court on February 22 this year.
On Wednesday, defence counsel David Moggach said that his client is unable to explain why he committed the robbery.
He added: “It is bizarre. I’ve never came across anything like this before. Mr Junor is unable to provide any explanation for why he did this.
“He didn’t need the money as he was on benefits at the time. He seems to have taken a notion to rob the shop and he went away and tied together these two pipes to give the impression to the witnesses that he was in possession of a shotgun.”
Mr Moggach told the court that his client did suffer from anxiety and depression.
Passing sentence, Lord Sandison told Junor that he would go to prison for five years.
He added: “I have listened to everything that Mr Moggach has said on your behalf. However, the staff of this shop ought to be able to go about their business without being threatened by you.
“These workers were left terrified by your actions.
“Had you been convicted following trial, the sentence of the court would be one of seven and a half years.
“However, given your plea this term will be discounted to one of five years.”