Armed killer raided shops weeks after early prison release

Sean McLaughlin targeted two stores in Motherwell 50 days after being freed from jail.

A convicted killer who carried out two armed shop raids 50 days after being released early from prison has been jailed for four years.

Sean McLaughlin, 38, admitted the thefts within 24 hours at grocery stores in Motherwell, Lanarkshire last August, while he was high on Valium and alcohol.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Stacey told McLaughlin: “You are a danger to the public. Your behaviour last August was disgraceful. 

“You were just out of prison for the culpable homicide in which you were responsible for the death of a friend and it appears you have learned nothing from that.”

The court heard McLaughlin, who was jailed for nine years for culpable homicide in 2013, stole a charity money tin from one shop and threatened to murder staff at the other before being tackled to the ground.

He first targeted the Smith and Co shop on August 14 and brandished a knife at a female worker. He was described as “increasingly angry and desperate” as he demanded cash.

McLaughlin escaped with a charity tin as well as a haul of cigarettes.

The next day, he grabbed a woman working at the Lifestyle Extra shop in Motherwell and held a blade to her throat. Two other members of staff raced out to her aid. McLaughlin went on to punch and kick them.

Prosecutor Euan Cameron said McLaughlin yelled: “I will murder you.” He was eventually restrained, but ranted: “I have seen your face. You won’t live long.”

Lady Stacey ordered McLaughlin to serve two years of the jail sentence he was released early from before starting his new sentence. She also ordered him to be monitored in the community for three years after his release.

McLaughlin appeared for sentence via a video link from prison.

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