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  1. ITV Report

Former soldier hit shopkeeper on the head with an axe

A former soldier who hit a shopkeeper on the head with an axe and tried to rob another victim at a second store has admitted his offences in court.

Neil Gordon, 41, pleaded guilty to robbing Ann Sage of cash from the till, at the Craven Street Stores, in Melton, Leicestershire.

Mrs Sage, who runs the shop with her husband, Richard, was taken to hospital suffering from a gash to her head.

The couple released footage of the incident in their general store shortly after it happened, on Wednesday March 1.

Gordon, of New Street, Melton, also pleaded guilty to attempting to rob a female employee at the One Stop shop in Grange Drive, in the town, earlier on the same day.

He pleaded guilty to possessing an axe during both incidents.

Neil Gordon, 41, pleaded guilty to robbing Ann Sage of cash from the till, at the Craven Street Stores, in Melton, Leicestershire. Credit: BPM.

Following his arrest, the defendant denied the offences when he appeared at Leicester Crown Court on March 11.

When he was due to stand trial before a jury today, he suddenly changed his pleas to admit the offences at both stores.

Other outstanding allegations, including another shop raid in the town and an attempted robbery and three assaults were ordered to lie on file and are not being proceeded with.

The judge adjourned the hearing until September 6, for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. Gordon was remanded back into custody.

After the robbery at the Craven Street Stores, Mrs Sage, 68, chased after the robber, despite blood pouring from her head wound, but he escaped in a blue car. She said after the event:

“I was at the end of the shop when I heard the assistant shouting out. The man had jumped over the counter and pinned her against the wall, demanding she open the till.

“He was stood over her with a rusty axe and she was saying ‘No, no, no.’ I glared at him and said ‘You don’t frighten me, I’m going to phone the police."

“As I stood there with my phone he ran at me and pushed me against the wall and then brought the axe down on my head. I bled a lot but it could have been much worse – I was lucky. I wouldn’t be here if he had really meant it.”

Gordon, wearing a hooded top, gloves and a handkerchief over his mouth, went back over the counter and forced the assistant to open the till before grabbing a handful of cash.

In CCTV footage released by the store Gordon is seen climbing over the counter and demanding the petrified assistant open the till. Credit: BPM.

Mrs Sage was screaming for help in the street, prompting concerned neighbours to call the police. Mrs Sage went to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre where she had the cut on her head glued up and was given a tetanus shot.

Mr Sage said at the time: “This man is evil – to hit my wife with an axe like that, he’s the lowest of the low; complete scum.”

Gordon carried out the attack after a failed robbery attempt minutes earlier, whilst also armed with the axe, at the nearby One Stop in nearby Grange Drive.

In CCTV footage released by the store Gordon is seen climbing over the counter and demanding the petrified assistant open the till.

When owner Ann Sage told him she would call the police, the man is seen dashing over to her and bundling the shopkeeper out of camera shot.

He then hit her over the head with the axe.